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Battle of Sievierodonetsk (2022)

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Battle of Sievierodonetsk
Part of the Battle of Donbas in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
Date6 May 2022 – present
(2 weeks and 4 days)
Location
Status

Ongoing

  • Ukraine claims that 70% of Sievierodonetsk is destroyed[1]
Belligerents
 Ukraine
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Oleh Hryhorov[2]
(regional police chief)
Units involved

 Russian Armed Forces

Luhansk People's Republic Luhansk People's Militia
Wagner Group[2]

 Ukrainian Armed Forces

Strength
12,500 men[6]
(at Luhansk, per Ukraine)
Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown 135 killed, wounded or captured (one company)[7]
47+ civilians killed, 59+ wounded[8]

The battle of Sievierodonetsk is an ongoing military engagement during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, as part of the Eastern Ukraine offensive. Sievierodonetsk is currently the acting administrative center of Luhansk Oblast. By May 2022, Sievierodonetsk and its direct neighbor, the city of Lysychansk, had become the only remaining Ukrainian strongholds in the otherwise occupied Luhansk Oblast.[2]

Background

Sievierodonetsk and its twin city Lysychansk was the site of a series of battles between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military in 2014 during the War in Donbas.[2] Soon after the start of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, on 28 February, Russian forces began to shell Sievierodonetsk.[9] According to Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk Oblast, one person was killed and several were injured. Gas pipelines were also hit by the shelling.[10] On 2 March, fighting was reported in almost all the villages near Sievierodonetsk.[11] Russian forces continued to shell the city, including a school gym that was acting as a bomb shelter. No deaths were reported.[12] At 15:20 that day, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces tried to break through Ukrainian lines towards the city, but were repelled.[13]

A month into the Russian invasion, Russia claimed to control 93% of Luhansk Oblast,[14] leaving Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk as strategically important Ukrainian holdouts in the area.[2] Russian plans to capture Sievierodonetsk hinged upon its successes in the nearby cities of Rubizhne to the north and Popasna to the south.[15] By 6 April, Russian forces had reportedly captured 60% of Rubizhne,[16] shells and rockets were landing in Sievierodonetsk on "regular, sustained intervals".[17] The next day, forces of the 128th Mountain Assault Brigade conducted an offensive which reportedly drove Russian forces 6–10 kilometers away from the other nearby town of Kreminna.[4]

By 9 April, elements of the Russian 4th Guards Tank Division were reportedly concentrating near Sievierodonetsk.[3] Between 11 and 12 April, continuing Russian attacks in the area gained no ground.[18][19] On 18 April, Russia renewed its offensive in eastern Ukraine, launching airstrikes into Sievierodonetsk.[20][21] By the end of April, most of Sievierodonetsk's civilian population had fled.[22] In late April, Russian forces launched an all-out offensive along a 500-mile front to fully capture remaining unoccupied territory of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk Oblasts.[2]

Battle

Buildings in Sievierodonetsk destroyed by Russian artillery fire.

On 6 May, Russian and LPR forces made gains in the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk, attacking the village of Voyevodivka just north of the city, while also capturing the village of Voronove to the southeast. Other villages were also attacked in an attempt to surround the city.[23] Subsequently, it was reported by the city's mayor, Alexander Stryuk, that Sievierodonetsk was "virtually surrounded".[24] Over the next days, Russian and separatist forces attacked Bilohorivka, Vojevodivka, and Lysychansk, intending to cut off Sievierodonetsk from the south. They also captured Popasna.[25]

On 9 May, LPR troops reportedly took control of Nyzhnie and started to attack Toshkivka, two settlements southeast of Sievierodonetsk. Heavy combat continued at Rubizhne, Vojevodivka, and Bilohorivka, as Russian forces attempted to further encircle Sievierodonetsk from the west.[26] On the next day, Russia's military continued its attacks on the city and its surroundings — Ukrainian forces destroyed a Russian pontoon bridge across the Siverskyi Donets River in the vicinity of Bilohorivka, attempting to disrupt the Russian advance, and destroying almost an entire Russian battalion in the process.[27][28] According to Ukrainian regional police chief Oleh Hryhorov, Sievierodonetsk and its direct neighbor, Lysychansk, had become tactically encircled, as Russian artillery could freely hit the remaining open roads into the city. Power and water supply was disrupted in the cities, leaving tens of thousands of civilians without basic necessities.[2] By 12 May, Russian and LPR forces had defeated Ukrainian forces in the Battle of Rubizhne and established full control of the city, furthering their attempts at encircling Sievierodonetsk.[29][30]

For the most part, Russia subsequently ceased its ground attacks on the surroundings of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk and limited itself to artillery bombardments. Pro-Russian forces instead focused on completing the encirclement of the two cities. To this end, they attacked at the northern frontline around Izium and in the south toward Bakhmut. The northern attacks made little to no progress, but in the south Russia made limited advances over several days of heavy combat. Fighting was mainly concentrated at a number of villages, including Toshkiva, Pylpchatyne, Hirske, and Zolote.[31][32][33] As of 19 May, the settlements of Borivske, Kreminna, Novotoshkivske, Nyzhnie, Orikhove, Popasna, Rubizhne, Toshkivka, Voronove and Voyevodivka in Sievierodonetsk Raion were under Russian control.[34][35]

Attacks on civilians

Numerous attacks against civilian facilities have occurred in Sievierodonetsk. On 17 March 2022, the Governor of Luhansk Oblast Serhiy Haidai reported that Russian forces had hit a shelter intended for mothers and children and declared that "there are no safe places in Luhansk Region anymore".[36] It was again reported on 22 March 2022, by Haidai that the Russians had shelled a children's hospital the roof of which caught fire, although no one was wounded.[37] Damage to local churches was reported.[38] On 7 April 2022, Russian forces reportedly struck a humanitarian aid center and set 10 high-rise buildings on fire in the city.[39]

References

  1. ^ "Severodonetsk destroyed by almost 70% - Military Administration".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Yaroslav Trofimov (10 May 2022). "Nearly Encircled, Ukraine's Last Stronghold in Luhansk Resists Russian Onslaught". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 9". Institute for the Study of War. 9 April 2022. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Ukrainian army forces enemy to retreat from Kreminna in Luhansk region". www.ukrinform.net. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Russian Soldier Down After Ukrainian Fire Hits Troop on Video". Newsweek. 28 April 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Russia Boosts Offensive In Eastern Ukraine As War Enters Fourth Month". 24 May 2022.
  7. ^ Focus of war shifts to Severodonetsk
  8. ^ 1 killed (28 February) [1] 1 killed, 4 wounded (7 March) [2] 10 killed (9 March) [3] 1 killed (10 March) [4] 1 killed (27 April) [5] 9 wounded (14 May) [6] 2 killed (15 May) [7] 10 killed, 3 wounded (16 May) [8] 4 killed, 3 wounded (18 May) [9] 12 killed, 40 wounded (19 May) [10] 3 killed (20 May) [11] 2 killed (21 May) [12]
  9. ^ "Окупанти обстріляли Сєвєродонецьк: що відомо про загиблих та постраждалих". ukrainenews.fakty.ua (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Росія обстріляла Сєвєродонецьк: є жертва і поранені – ОДА". Радіо Свобода (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Бої тривають майже у всіх довколишніх селах навколо Сєвєродонецька – голова Луганської обладміністрації". Інтерфакс-Україна (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 6 March 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  12. ^ "У Сєвєродонецьку російський снаряд влучив у школу, де ховалися люди (відео)". www.unian.ua (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 3 March 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  13. ^ "Новини України: Російське вторгнення: поточна ситуація на Луганщині". Гал-інфо. Archived from the original on 6 March 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Russia claims it has taken 93% of territory of Ukraine's Luhansk region -TASS". finance.yahoo.com. 25 March 2022. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  15. ^ "Russia aims to capture 4 regions in new eastern offensive: Ukraine". www.aa.com.tr. 19 April 2022. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  16. ^ "Russian forces control 60% of Rubizhne town in east Ukraine, says governor | Reuters.com". Reuters. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  17. ^ Presse, AFP-Agence France. "Sustained Bombardment Seen In Severodonetsk: AFP". www.barrons.com. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 11". Institute for the Study of War. 11 April 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2022.
  19. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 12". Institute for the Study of War. 12 April 2022. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  20. ^ "Russia begins Donbas offensive in eastern Ukraine". 18 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Russia begins large-scale military action to seize eastern Ukraine". the Guardian. 19 April 2022. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  22. ^ Emmanuel Grynszpan (29 April 2022). "War in Ukraine: In Sievierodonetsk, pro-Russians are waiting to be 'liberated'". Le Monde. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  23. ^ "RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, MAY 6". 6 May 2022.
  24. ^ Guerre en Ukraine : la ville de Severodonetsk quasiment encerclée par les Russes
  25. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 8". Institute for the Study of Warfare. 8 May 2022. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  26. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 9". Institute for the Study of Warfare. 9 May 2022. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  27. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 10". Institute for the Study of Warfare. 10 May 2022. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  28. ^ https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2022/05/11/the-russians-lost-nearly-an-entire-battalion-trying-to-cross-a-river-in-eastern-ukraine/?sh=13d96e7b1689
  29. ^ "Ukrainian forces lose foothold in eastern town". CNN. 13 May 2022. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  30. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 12". Institute for the Study of Warfare. 12 May 2022. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  31. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 15". Institute for the Study of Warfare. 15 May 2022. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  32. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 16". Institute for the Study of Warfare. 16 May 2022. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  33. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 19". Institute for the Study of Warfare. 19 May 2022. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  34. ^ "La bandiera sovietica della vittoria nel paese preso dai separatisti - Video". RaiNews (in Italian). Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  35. ^ "RID Rivista Italiana Difesa". www.rid.it (in Italian). Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  36. ^ "Russian invaders fire on shelter for mothers and children in Sievierodonetsk". Ukrinform. 17 March 2022.
  37. ^ "Російські окупанти обстріляли дитячу лікарню в Сєвєродонецьку: дітей та персонал вдалося врятувати". Vilne Radio (in Ukrainian). 22 March 2022.
  38. ^ "When Christians are bombing Christian churches (PHOTOS)". Orthodox Times. 30 March 2022. Retrieved 10 April 2022.
  39. ^ Bullen, Lee; News, Zenger (7 April 2022). "Ukrainians blast Russian armor with U.K. missile system". Newsweek. Retrieved 8 April 2022.