Where does Russia stand after fall of Ukrainian city’s last bridge leaves no escape route for residents?

Where does Russia stand after fall of Ukrainian city’s last bridge leaves no escape route for residents?


Residents of the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk have now been effectively cut off from the rest of the country with the fall of the last of the three bridges linking it with its twin city — Lysychansk. This means that Russia now controls a majority of Ukraine’s eastern region of Luhansk Oblast, which is populated largely by separatists.

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Severdonetsk Governor Serhiy Haidai said evacuation and supplies to the city are now impossible as the last bridge over the Siverskyi Donets river near Syrotyne SE no longer stands. In a Telegram post, Haidai said: “Those remaining in the city were being forced to survive in extremely difficult conditions”.

With the fall of the last bridge, the situation has become quite grim for the remaining Ukrainian soldiers still fighting in the city. Eduard Basurin, a military representative of the pro-Russian ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, said, “Ukrainian divisions that are there [in Severodonetsk] are there forever.” “They must surrender or die,” he said.

40 KIDS AMONG 500 HOLED UP IN CHEMICAL FACTORY

Most of Severodonetsk has been run over by Russian troops and the last of the civilian population, numbering around 500, including 40 children, are holed up at the Azot chemical plant.

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Last month, the Russians lost nearly an entire battalion in a botched attempt to cross the Siverskyi Donets River. Hundreds were killed and dozens of armoured vehicles were destroyed. The second of the three bridges over the Siverskyi Donets was destroyed on June 11.

Unique strategies, such as blowing up bridges and flooding entire villages to stop Russian advancement, have been a key strategies employed by Ukrainians. However, the destruction of the last bridge between Severodonetsk and Lysychansk has put Ukraine in a tight spot. It is still not clear whether it was the Russians or the Ukrainians who destroyed the bridge.

Meanwhile, Russia said that its priority was the protection of the citizens of ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’, which were recognized as independent regions by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 22, two days before his invasion of Ukraine.

STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF THE ‘LAST BRIDGE’

The destruction of the last bridge has meant that all road connections to Severodonetsk have been cut off. Severodonetsk was one of the last cities to have been standing between Russian forces in the east and the rest of the country. In fact, Severdonetsk is the last pocket of Ukrainian land held in the strategic Luhansk region.

To understand the strategic importance of the situation better, let’s take a look at the key Ukrainian regions taken over by Russia so far.

The regions shaded in red in this Google Maps image are under control of Russian forces.

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Starting from the south and moving towards the east of Ukraine, Kherson, Melitopol, and Mariupol have been taken over by Russian forces. In the east, Luhansk is under the control of Russian and separatist forces and they are advancing westwards towards Kramatorsk. With scarce resources and no way for evacuation, Severdonetsk is also likely to be taken over soon. If that happens, Russia can advance further in attacking its twin city, Lysychansk.

The regions north of Severdonetsk, moving westwards towards Izyum are under Russian control. Moving northwest, Kharkiv was taken over by Russian soldiers. However, Ukrainian soldiers regained control of the city. Russian soldiers are now again advancing on the city.

(With inputs from BBC and AP)





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