President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine referred to the conflict in the Donbas, which consists of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as “the most difficult – tremendously difficult.” The retreat from Lysychansk represented a break from the tenacious defense of Mariupol city in May when over 2,500 Ukrainian forces were ordered to surrender.
Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian Security Council, reaffirmed the Kremlin’s initial maximalist objective of “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine. Even this declared objective, which includes the remaining half of Donetsk province under Ukrainian control, has not yet been attained.
As Ukrainian reserves are activated, Russia might be in retreat on the northern front around Kharkiv. Samir Puri, a senior scholar at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, cautioned against making quick assessments of Russia’s attrition rate. Ukraine appears to have effectively turned the tables on Putin’s battle of attrition, attempting to wear him down. President Zelenskyy has become increasingly outspoken in removing Russia from all Ukrainian territory. In the past week, Ukraine has begun bombing Russian weaponry, and ammo dumps located deep into the Russian rear.