Latest military situation in Eastern Ukraine, 23 May 2022 (Map Update)
ISWNews Analysis Group: Clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces continue on various fronts in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.
In Donetsk Oblast, on the Mariupol front, on May 30, with the surrender of the last Ukrainian troops to the Russian army in the Azovstal industrial zone south of Mariupol, this important port city came under full control of Russia and its allies. The complete capture of the city would allow the Russian army and its allies to transfer troops from this town to other fronts and increase focus on advancing elsewhere.
In the north of Donetsk, sporadic clashes continue along the Gorlivka and Donetsk front lines. Field changes in this axis are slow. In recent weeks, Russian and Donetsk forces have made minor advances along this axis. The capture of New York near Gorlivka and the capture of Avdiivka near Donetsk are among the main objectives of the Russian military operation on this axis.
In the northeast of Gorlivka, Russian and its allies entered the Donetsk oblast from the Luhansk oblast and the Troitske and took control of the Myronivskyi area. The purpose of advancing on this axis is to capture Svitlodarsk and the surrounding areas of the lake and to secure the city of Gorlyuka from the northeast.
To the west of Donetsk, sporadic clashes continue along the front lines from Mariinka to Velyka Novosilka. Last month, the Russian army and Donetsk (DPR) forces launched an unsuccessful offensive to seize the Mariinka region. Currently, most of the clashes continue on the Mariinka, Novomykhailivka, Ogledar and Velyka Novosilka axes between Russian and Ukrainian forces. It seems that the Russian army and its allies do not have a serious intend to make progress on this axis at the moment, and clashes are taking place on this axis to keep Ukrainian forces busy.
In the Luhansk oblast, clashes and field changes are taking place more intensely, and the completion of work on this oblast seems to be a priority for the Russian army and its allies. Now, 89 days since the start of the war in Ukraine, 95 percent of Luhansk oblast is under the control of the Russian army and its allies, leaving only the city of Severodonetsk and the surrounding area. Hence, the capture of the important and industrial city of Severodonetsk is the main and ultimate goal of the Russian army and Luhansk (LPR) forces in this area.
It should be noted that after the withdrawal of the Russian army from the northern fronts of Ukraine, the Russian army announced its focus on the liberation of the southeastern regions of Ukraine, and in particular the Donbas region. Since then, we have witnessed a change in tactics in the way the Russian army is advancing. Under the new tactic, key areas and areas where face fierce resistance by Ukrainian forces are bypassed by Russian forces and its allies, forcing the defensive forces to retreat from the area by creating an quasi-siege and increasing pressure. This tactic is clearly visible in the northern regions of Donetsk oblast and the Severodonetsk front in areas such as Popasnaya, Zolote, Lyman, etc.
On the Popasnaya front, in recent days and weeks, Russian forces and its allies have been able to expand their contact lines and reach the important town of Soledar from the west. With the advance on this axis, the logistic route of the Ukrainian forces from Bakhmut to the city of Severodonetsk was practically cut off. Ukrainian forces also came under a quasi-siege in the Zolote area.
On the Lyman-Izyum axis, progress is slow, but Russian forces have expanded frontlines around Izyum over the course of a few weeks, advancing from village to village. And operations to capture the town of Lyman have also begun.
According to the tactics adopted by the Russian army, it seems that all the progress made on these axes is made with the ultimate goal of completing the siege of the city of Severodonetsk.
On the ciity of Severodonetsk front, heavy fighting continues around and at the entrances to the city. In recent weeks, Russian and LPR forces have been able to approach the city from both the northern and southern axes. In south of the city of Severodonetsk, clashes continue in the areas of Metolkine, Voronove and Syrotyne. On the northern front of Severodonetsk, heavy clashes continue at the northern entrances to the city. The Russian offensive is focused on the four main roads leading to the city. The Russian military has also blown up the main bridge between Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, with the aim of cutting off Ukrainian forces in the city of Severodonetsk from outside the city. The complete capture of the city of Severodonetsk plays an important role in determining the future of the battles in the southeastern regions of Ukraine.
According to the progress made until the 89th day of the war, about 55% of Donetsk oblast and 95% of Luhansk oblast have been captured by the Russian army and its allies.
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