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Ukrainian Defence of Sieveredonetsk City Against Russian Forces

Destroyed apartment in the City of Sieverodonetsk, Ukraine, 30.05.22.

Destroyed apartment in the City of Sieverodonetsk, Ukraine, 30.05.22.

As the month of June unravels, the city of Sieverodonetsk falls under the siege of the Russian army. Russia has been heavily bombing Sieverodonetsk for the past week or two. Russia's uneven advancements in Eastern Ukraine seems temporary as the Russian death toll and overall casualties in Ukraine is rising. How long will Ukraine hold its defense? Or, how long will Russia stay in the territories of Ukraine?

For one week, Russia has been bombarding and besieging the city of Sieverodonetsk, located in the Eastern Ukraine region of Donbas. Ukrainian resistance in the city has came to a slight halt. Russian soldiers have taken a bit more than half of Sieverodonetsk yesterday, and the bombardment continues, but today, no advancements or new key grounds have fallen under the control of Russia.

Ukraine's resistance let its guard down in the past 2 days in Sieverodonetsk, however, they seem to back on their feet, resisting the Russian army in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. In the Ukrainian town of Lyman in Eastern Ukraine, the southern axis of the town has seen heavy retaliation against Russian forces in the past few hours, which suggests that the Ukrainians haven't fully withdrawn from their current positions to the town of Slovyansk.

In the last 24 hours, Russian soldiers have shelled the Kyivsky district in Kharkiv. In the city of Zolochiv in the Lviv oblast, Russia carried out heavy bombardment. As a result of the shelling, 1 woman was killed. In the Ivanivka village, located in the district of Izyum, as 12 year old boy was killed by Russian bombing. 2 people were killed in Shestakove, located in the Chuhuiv district, 7 other people were injured.

In the Black sea, Russian troops have deployed missile launchers on temporarily occupied Zmiinyi Island (Better known as Snake Island). In the middle of May, Turkish-supplied Bayraktar TB2 drones, bought by Ukraine, were bombarding the occupied island with the elite Turkish drones, destroying multiple Raptor boats, an Mi-8 helicopter, along with a few of Ukrainian SU-27 bombers carried out airstrikes on Russian positions and elements on the Island.

Back to Sieverodonetsk, the Russian army is reportedly struggling to keep the positions they have captured in the city, and are doing anything they can to maintain them. So far, it seems like Russia is still hanging onto their positions, but the fierce fighting exchanged by both sides shows that the battle for Sieverodonetsk won't go exactly as planned, just like what the Russian army had attempted in Kyiv region of Ukraine. The way the battle for Sieverodonetsk could go, is:

  • A: Russia fully takes the city before Ukraine sparks new battles and skirmishes in the outskirts of Sieverodonetsk in order to (if captured), regain a foothold in the city of Sieverodonetsk, along with the towns and villages surrounding it. Kyiv oblast was a accurate an example of this, that Russia nearly reached the capital Kyiv and controlled the macro portion of suburban areas right in front of Kyiv's doorstep, when in Late-March, the Ukrainian army, Muslim battalions fighting for Ukraine against Russia, and the Azov regiment, a member of the Ukrainian National Guard, began attacking Russian controlled areas in Kyiv oblast, which resulted in the Russian withdrawal from Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv oblasts in early April.
  • B: Before Russia can fully occupy Sieverodonetsk, the Ukrainian army will launch a counter-offensive in the city, sparking massive and intense battles between the Ukrainian army and the Russian army. Another example of such counter-offensives by Ukraine, which this time, took place in the Kharkiv region. The battles for Kharkiv was one of the biggest failures by Russia in the 2022 conflict in Ukraine, Russia could not make a single victory in the region, and the Azov National Guard eliminated thousands of Russian targets, bringing the plan to take the city of Kharkiv to a stop. The Russian army could barely stand its ground in Kharkivska oblast, with the only decent amount of advancements in Kharkiv were on the first day of the battle, but got pushed back quickly in the following months.
  • C: Russia will fully take the city and will push beyond Sieverodonetsk, reaching the city of Lysychansk, located in Donbas region. Russia still seems somewhat competent to push a bit more in the city, and if Ukraine withdraws their soldiers from the city to avoid an encirclement in the Lysychansk, Sieverodonetsk cities and other strategic locations in the Donbas region, then a Russian takeover of the city is 100% to take place.
  • D: The status of control in Sieverodonetsk will remain as it is, half-occupied by Russia and half kept by Ukraine. The reason for such possibility is because the Ukrainian army is ambushing Russian soldiers and Russian occupied territory in Ukraine, which would put Russia's plans to fully take the Sieverodonetsk to a halt.
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As Ukraine keeps being bombarded by Russia, and Russia takes heavy casualties, loses equipment and suffers from Ukrainian guerilla warfare, a victory for one side or the other seems unlikely, as this conflict just for one city could take weeks, if not months. If Ukraine can stand against Russian offensives and bombardment, a victory for Russia does not seem imminent. Still, Russia has a chance to take Sieverodonetsk and push into the Donbas region if Ukraine lets their guard down, but this does not seem to be happening anytime soon.

Brief map of the status of Sieverodonetsk city, June 1, 2022.

Brief map of the status of Sieverodonetsk city, June 1, 2022.

© 2022 Nihad Shukurlu

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