Ukraine suspects “test attacks”: Russians report territorial gains in Luhansk region

Ukraine suspects “probe attacks”
Russians announce territorial gains in Luhansk region

Russian forces are making slow progress in the Luhansk region. Several contested towns are said to be in Moscow’s hands now. Meanwhile, the government in Kyiv assumes that the Russian advances are not yet the expected major offensive.

The Russian armed forces say they have taken the small town of Kreminna in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, which had previously been heavily fortified by the Ukrainian army. “Through the dashing and coordinated action of the stormtroopers, it was possible to avoid serious destruction of objects of the city’s infrastructure,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov. The report could not be independently verified. However, in the days before there had been reports from the Ukrainian side that Kreminna had fallen.

Apparently, Russian attacks also took place in other areas of eastern Ukraine. “In Sievjerodonetsk there is not a single intact storehouse left,” said the governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Hajday, on Facebook. The cities of Rubischne and Popasna are now “partially” in Russian hands. Rubishne is located about 14 kilometers southeast of Kreminna. According to Hajdaj, 80 percent of the Luhansk region is under Russian control. When the war began on February 24, the pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed “People’s Republic” of Luhansk controlled around 30 percent of the region.

According to British intelligence, Moscow’s troops are also advancing in the direction of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region. The city is suffering from ongoing missile attacks, according to a situation report by the British Ministry of Defence. Russia is trying to destroy the Ukrainian defense systems with numerous airstrikes. Only yesterday Ukraine reported the Repelling a Russian advance to the city of Slovjansk north of Kramatorsk. Apparently, by capturing the city, Ukrainian units further to the east are to be cut off.

Despite the advances, Ukraine believes that the expected major Russian offensive has not yet begun. Attacks began along the entire front line on the territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions on Tuesday morning, Secretary of the Ukrainian Security Council Oleksiy Danilov said in a radio interview. However, it is likely that these are only “test attacks”.

When the so-called great offensive begins is only a matter of time, Danilov said. Moscow could still build new resources and reserves in bulk over the next two to four weeks. The US Department of Defense had previously stated that it saw the current Russian attacks only as a sign of a major Moscow offensive.

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