Russian forces fighting for control of eastern Ukraine are believed to be preparing for an ‘operational pause’ after taking control of Lugansk, one of two provinces in the Donbass region that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin claims to “liberate” through a devastating war of attrition. which left entire cities in ruins.
Putin claimed victory from Russia on Monday and awarded awards to military leaders for seizing the town of Lysychansk, on the western border of Luhansk Oblast. However, former Russian military commander Igor Girkin questioned the significance of the city’s capture in a ‘scathing’ critique of Russia’s performance in the war, according to an analysis by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a non-American organization based in the United States. -partisan policy research organization.
Girkin, a hardline Russian nationalist who commanded militants during the 2014 war in disputed Donbass, suggested in a blog post that Russian forces had paid too high a price for limited gains in Luhansk after weeks of fierce artillery battles and urban combat with US-backed Ukraine. defenders, who are determined to weaken the Russian military and lessen the scope of Putin’s invasion.
A manpower shortage that has left beleaguered Russian soldiers at the front without replacements is seriously hurting Russian morale, Girkin wrote. Putin has publicly called on his troops around Lysychansk to rest and regroup, which is likely intended to signal troop concern “at periodic complaints in Russia” about the treatment of soldiers, according to the ISW. So far, Putin has avoided a mass mobilization of military conscripts at home, leaving independent critics such as Girkin frustrated with military failures and the Kremlin’s reluctance to call up reserves and wage a broader war against Ukraine.
It’s unclear how long the invasion’s “operational pause” will last, but SIE analysts and other experts expect Putin’s forces to continue pushing into neighboring Donetsk Oblast with punitive artillery assaults. Taking time to rebuild offensive capability risks losing ground to Ukrainian counterattacks, Girkin warned.
Russian troops would work to establish administrative control of captured territory around Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, two towns on either side of the Donets River that suffered bloody street battles and constant artillery barrages. Russian forces may be preparing to forcibly conscript Ukrainian citizens still living there to fight alongside Russia and its separatist allies, reports ISW.
After months of indiscriminate shelling by Russian forces and Ukrainian counterattacks, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Monday that it would cost $750 billion rebuild war-damaged cities and civilian infrastructure. International leaders debated a plan to rebuild Ukraine at a summit in Switzerland, with European nations and other Western allies pledging continued support.
Beyond Lysychansk, limited Russian ground assaults mean further territorial gains as Putin’s army seeks strategic positions before pushing the invasion further west. Sporadic rocket fire has terrorized civilian areas in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are now using HIMARS missile systems imported from the United States to strike Russian ammunition dumps up to 75 kilometers behind the front lines, a sign of improved military capability after months of confrontation with invaders with superior weapons.
An apparent campaign of sabotage targeting Russian-controlled railways continues in occupied Ukraine as well as inside Russia, where partisans and anti-war activists are working to disrupt supply lines to the Russian army.
The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that Ukrainian partisans blew up a railway bridge between Melitopol and Tokmak in southeastern occupied Ukraine on July 3 and derailed a separate armored train carrying ammunition near Melitopol one day earlier. Previous sabotage efforts have also been successful, suggesting a coordinated resistance campaign in these occupied areas, according to the ISW.
A self-proclaimed “cell” of anarchist militants took responsibility for a railway sabotage near a Russian artillery depot in Vladimir Oblast outside Moscow. In posts on the social media platform Telegram, the activists claimed that the sabotage had temporarily blocked a train with military equipment and was intended to show “all supporters [sic] how accessible these sabotage targets are.