Russia puts maximum efforts into mobilizing its forces in the north of the Luhansk region as the Ukrainian army draws closer to Kreminna. Losing this city will result in the collapse of all of Russia’s defense lines.
While focusing on this spot, the Russians largely neglect other parts of the frontline, The New York Times writes.
The Ukrainians can reclaim the road to Sievierodonetsk
Recapturing the cities of Kreminna, Svatove, and Starobilsk could give Ukrainian forces control of a triangle of roads that provide access to Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. The Armed Forces of Ukraine could also advance toward the Russian border.
According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the occupiers are now using all the resources available to them to mount an offensive on this spot and "squeeze out at least some advance."
Since the fall, when Ukraine launched a counteroffensive on this axis, both sides have engaged in a series of battles and artillery duels over highways and small settlements around Kreminna and farther northwest, in the city of Svatove.
Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, confirms that fighting near Kreminna is ongoing. According to him, in response to military pressure, part of the Russian command in the city had withdrawn to the town of Rubizhne.
"The Russians understand that if they lose Kreminna, their entire line of defense will ‘fall,’" Haidai emphasized.
Russia plans a new offensive in the Kharkiv region
In recent weeks, Russian forces have built a series of defensive barriers near Kreminna and severed the pontoon bridges over the Siverskyi Donets River.
The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said that after losing the city of Kherson, Russia was rallying its forces in northern Luhansk for an offensive that would aim to extend its control in the region and then potentially push into the Kharkiv region.
According to the Institute, Russia is prioritizing mobilizing troops to defend Kreminna and Svatove over operations in other parts of the Donbas.
It said, however, that Russian success in the short term appeared unlikely given the difficult terrain and the very limited offensive capabilities of Moscow’s forces.