Battle of Severodonetsk–Lysychansk

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Ukrainian troops removed a World War II T-34 monument and parked it in the street during the occupation.[1]

The Battle of Severodonetsk–Lysychansk was a key conflict in the liberation of the Lugansk Peoples Republic from NATO and the Maidan regime oppression during the 2022 Special Military Operation conducted on the territory of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

On April 14, 2022, sources said the Pentagon instructed the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to withdraw all the remaining artillery to the cities on the eastern front – Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, where they can fire behind civilians. Restraining the offensive of the Russian troops is prescribed by small mobile groups armed with mortars and anti-tank systems, moving across the steppe in civilian vehicles. There is nothing surprising in the fact that the Americans impose the use of terrorist tactics on their client state, in which the Ukrainian people are taken hostage. Ukrainian sources write about this quite openly, and treat such methods with understanding, and as the only correct one.[2] The CIA-controlled Kyiv Independent stated that Zelensky said there are 44,000 AFU troops on the Donbas front.[3]

By April 15, 2022, the front became more active. Fourteen hours of artillery bombardment across a two hundred mile front on April 19, 2022, sent a foreboding message.

In any city, town, or village the AFU entered, they went straight to the local schools to set up headquarters,[4] making the building a legitimate target per international conventions and rules of war. This was foundational to Ukraine's propaganda strategy and not its military strategy.

On April 18, 2022, the NATO-controlled Ukrainian General Staff reported the number of Russian forces deployed to the Donbass were 70,000, however Pentagon disinformation specialists lowered the estimate to 60,000 so as not to demoralize Ukrainian troops and the public.

On April 20, 2022, AFU pulled out of Ribezhnoe (pop. 55,000) and commenced an organized withdrawal from Severodonetsk across the Severskii Donets river into Lisichansk (pop. 95,000). The AFU launched another Tochka-U missile armed with cluster munitions against the civilian population of Donbas, killing 5 people including one child.

As Russian forces swept through the rural areas of Donbas, it was easy to find where the retreating AFU soldiers had established bases in villages - usually without exception in the local school building.[5] Resistance in Popasna (pop. 20,000) was unexpectedly fierce with street to street fighting using linked underground trenches between most civilian houses. Chechen fighters and the Wagner Group[6] took part in the fighting.[7]

By April 29, 2022, the daily reports of the Russian Ministry of Defense noted that Ukraine was losing several hundred soldiers and some 30 armored vehicles daily, mostly to artillery. A flood of gruesome pictures posted on Telegram by both sides confirmed this. Several Ukrainian attempts to counterattack Russian forces failed. Western propagandists for the first time noted that their side was losing.[8]

On April 30, 2022, it was reported that over 70% of buildings in Severodonetsk were hit by artillery strikes.

Donbas front on May 13, 2022, showing AFU entrenchments.

In early May 2022, AFU forces began withdrawing from the outskirts of Severodonetsk; reports indicated that the Russian military forces were grinding down Ukrainian ground forces by extensive use of heavy artillery. The Ukrainian artillery has either been destroyed or lacks ammunition. The Ukrainian forces have orders from the Zelensky regime to stay in their position and to hold the line,[9] only making sure that Russian artillery strikes will destroy them.[10] Zelensky had been warned by the UK's MI6 about the risk of encirclement of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Severodonetsk, but ignored the warnings.[11] Videos of survivors of Ukrainian combat groups appeared online accusing Ukrainian commanders of having abandoned the troops on the battlefield.[12][13] Conscripts and members of the Territorial Defense militia, teenagers below draft age with no military training at all, were sent by the Zelesnky regime outside their home regions, in violation of their contracts, to the frontlines as cannon fodder.[14][15] Captured POWs at the front said they were thrown into the meat grinder with only two days training.

Battle of Severodonetsk

On May 5 the mayor of Severodonetsk reported that LPR and Russian forces began entering the city. According to LPR military officials, the AFU grouping of about 15,000-16,000 servicemen was deployed in the Severodonetsk-Lisichansk region.

AFU deployment, May 15, 2022.

On May 7, 2022, Russian forces broke through the heavily fortified town of Popasana. Since the Wagner Group and Chechens showed up a week earlier, the AFU began losing about 150 troops per day. Popasana sits on the high ground, and the breakthrough the Russians referred to as the "flower", which can been seen on a map as Russian forces flood through and beyond the previous line of contact. The fall of Popasana cut off the main supply line to 12,000 AFU troops in Severodonetsk-Lisichansk. According to residents, Ukrainian tanks were deployed near residential buildings in Popasna and purposefully fired at buildings where local civilians were hiding. Ukrainian forces used civilians as slave labor, forcing them to carry MANPADs or dig fortifications.[16] Polish mercenaries were deployed alongside Ukrainians, shot at civilians, and would not allow people out of their houses for 4 days even to get water.[17]

On May 9, 2022, Russians troops encountered a failed river crossing at Bilohorivka.[18]

On May 13, 2022, Biden defense minister Lloyd Austin, who only a week earlier boasted of weakening Russia, called Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu to beg for mercy for the Nazi proxies.[19]

Failed Russian river crossing at Bilohorivka.

As of May 20, 2022 Russian Airborne (VDV) mobile infantry and Wagner group fighters advanced up to 15 kilometers west of Popasana and captured several towns or villages within 3 kilometers of the one paved, continuous, Ukrainian-controlled main road into Lisichansk-Severodonetsk. Without this road, there will be no meaningful resupply for, or organized evacuation of, thousands of Ukrainian servicemen in the eastern part of the north Lugansk cauldron.

With the destruction of so many frontline AFU force, by May 21, 2022, most of the AFU troops operating in Severodonetsk had been withdrawn across river to Lisichansk, leaving about 4,000 troops spread out in surrounding villages and suburbs and about 800 Ukrainian troops hiding from Russian strikes in the industrial zone of Severodonetsk. The only escape route remaining was one bridge impassable with heavy equipment. Partisan forces of Novorossiya were reported to be taking part in the fighting. An estimated 10,000 AFU troops were concentrated west of the river in Lisichansk and 3,000 in the Zolotoe pocket. Some AFU units were refusing to fight after their battlefield commanders fled the field.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32] Elite Ukrainian paratroopers began surrendering.

In the morning of May 24, 2022 DNR and Russian forces established full control over the town of Svetlodarsk (pop. 10,000),[33] which is located northeast of Gorlovka. This town, as well as earlier liberated Popasna, was heavily fortified points of Kyiv's forces. The highway between Bakhmut (pop. 70,000) and Lisichansk is cut off by forward units of the Russian military.

The Russians introduced the Terminator tank in combat in Severodonetsk.[34]

Relative AFU troop strength in the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk-Zolotoe pockets, May 24, 2022.[35]

On May 30, 2022, the first reports a partial liberation of Severodonetsk from fascist forces emerged.[36] Reports indicated Russian control of about 40% of the city, with the two battalions of Ukrainian forces trapped in the city retreating to the industrial area as they did in Mariupol. Even Western media reported, “Russian forces advanced Monday into the center of Severodonetsk, one of the last Ukrainian strongholds in the eastern Donbas region."[37] Reports of Ukrainian forces shelling civilian areas of Severodonetsk continued.[38] The Territorial Defense appeared incapable of withstanding the Russian offensive so Ukraine sent in its foreign mercenary contingents and the last of its elite Special Operations Forces from the Kramatorsk garrison. Russian forces identified Polish and English speaking mercenaries fighting on the front line in the city of Severodonetsk. The mercenaries were withdraawn a day later following heavy losses up to 90% in some units.[39] A UK mercenary was reportedly killed.

On May 31, 2022, the AFU carried out an attack on the residential areas in the town of Stakhanov (pop. 70,000) in the Lugansk Republic. Two pregnant women were killed and 24 other civilians were injured, including eight children.

On June 1, 2022, only the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk was in Ukrainian hands. Ukrainian forces exploded a large tank containing nitric acid at the plant.

By June 6, 2022, the Russians were able to establish a bridgehead on the west side of Seversky Donets river. The Russian Ministry of Defense reported, "Ukrainian barrier troops blew up a road bridge in the town of Svyatogorsk in the northern part of the Donetsk People’s Republic...Cut off from the main forces and supply lines due to the destruction of the bridge, the troops abandoned military equipment and their weaponry and scattered along the bank of the Seversky Donets river...Up to 80 Ukrainian servicemen crossed the river by swimming. Russian soldiers have knowingly not opened fire on them." Svyatogorsk (pop. 4000) is viewed as strategically important due to it being one of the key points for a complete encirclement of the Ukrainian army in the Donbas.[40] Russians immediately began de-mining operations.

On June 8, 2022, more reports emerged of Ukrainian forces taking civilian hostages in the Azot chemical plant. At least 800 are said to be held.

Ukrainian tank hidden in Severodonetsk apartment complex.[41]

On June 9, 2022, the AFU carried out about 20 strikes on the residential areas in the town of Stakhanov in the Luhansk People's Republic. The artillery fire was conducted from the AFU military positions in Bakhmut. The death toll reached 22 civilians according to the reports by the local Ministry of Emergency Situations. The city hospital, stadium, dormitory, and residential buildings were damaged. The town was shelled by a Ukrainian Hurricane (Uragan) rocket with high-explosive missiles. On June 10, 2022, there was fierce fighting around Toshkovka (pop. 4,000).[42]

On June 11, 2022, Russian forces took control of Severodonetsk Airport.

On June 13, 2022, reports indicated that the Ukrainian fighters trapped in the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk were attempting to bargain with the lives of the 800 civilian hostages for safe passage out of the city. Other reports indicated that the Ukrainian forces trapped in the plant numbered about 2,500, with approximately 600 foreign mercenaries, including mercenaries from the Republic of Georgia, now facing the death penalty. The last bridge between Lysychansk and Severodonetsk has also been destroyed. Russia agreed to providing a humanitarian corridor for civilians and surrendering Ukrainian troops who leave the Azot chemical plant. One 74-year-old man left the Azot plant through the corridor in the first 24 hours. There was no electric power in the bunkers and the hostages and fighters reportedly were running out of food and water.

The Gorskoe-Zolotoe cauldron, June 22, 2022.

On June 21, 2022, the defenses around Toshkovka fell, completing the encirclement of about 1,800 AFU servicemen, 120 nationalists, 80 foreign mercenaries in the Gorskoe-Zolotoe cauldron. The Russians now stood at the southeast suburbs of Lysychansk.[43] The frontlines around Severdonetsk-Lysuchansk started to crumble. In the north of the Zolotoe cauldron, the Russian MoD claimed Ukrainian forces refused to obey orders and mass abandoned positions in Pidlisne, Hirske and Vrubivka: "Servicemen of a battalion from the 57th Mechanised Infantry Brigade that had been defending near Gorskoe, Podlesnoye, Vrubovka (Lugansk People's Republic) refused to obey the order of their command and abandoned all their positions after losing more than 60 per cent of personnel." Reports indicate about 800 Ukrainian soldiers participated in the mutiny, most of which were pressed into service a month ago with little training. The next day the cities of Zolotoe and Hirske fell, and Russian military commanders met with local civil administration officials.

In the retreat from Severodonetsk, AFU looters left little room for their fellow soldiers in vehicles after looting shops and apartments.

Between June 22 and 24, 2022, about 1,000 AFU servicemen were killed and over 800 surrendered near Lysychansk. Some forces in a panicked retreat from the Gordskoe-Zolotoe cauldron were blown up in their own minefields. Many Ukrainian POWs reported that they had not eaten in days and received their first bites of food from their Russian captors. On June 24, 2022 Kyiv ordered a retreat from Severodonetsk across the river to Lysychansk, ceding all of Lugansk territory. The destruction of bridges made retreat difficult. Ukrainian soldiers engaged in extensive looting of shops and apartments during their occupation and retreat. A Ukrainian special forces commander told Sky News that 80% of his men were either killed or incapacitated.[44] About 8,000 Ukrainian forces and 700 pieces of heavy equipment, including tanks and armored vehicles remained in Lysychansk. Both cities were under operational encirclement. Russian-led forces control the airspace over Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. There remained only 15 km (9 mi) north to south for total physical encirclement of Lysychansk-Severodonetsk with only one road running east and west for resupply and retreat which was under artillery fire control of Russian and allied forces. Thousands of Ukrainian militants in Lysychansk were cut off.

Lysychansk cauldron, June 29, 2020. The blue line shows the AFU line of retreat in the direction of Siversk.

On June 25, 2022, Severodonetsk was freed from its Ukrainian captors.[45] The 800 civilian hostages in the Azot plant were set free.[46] Residents thanked their Chechen liberators and told them how the Ukrainian government never told them that humanitarian corridors had been established for their safe evacuation.[47] Residents told the media how Ukrainian forces shelled civilian areas in the city and looted stores.[48] According to Chechen liberators, evidence was found of plans to convert the Severodonetsk airfield into NATO's most forward base, along with Mariupol, for launching air attacks on the Russian Federation after the Lugansk airport had been destroyed.

Members of the neo-Nazi Aidar Battalion[49] were captured, along with U.S. and NATO weapons supplied to them.[50] Residents testified to Ukrainian mercenaries robbing civilians.[51] At least one civilian was found executed by Ukrainian forces.[52]

Battle of Lysychansk

Donbas cauldron, July 5, 2022.

By June 28, 2022, the Russians established two more crossings over the Seversky Donets river. By June 29 the Ukraine's Lysychansk garrison largely abandoned the city in a more orderly retreat in groups of 500; some thousands got out via civilian vehicles or on foot, fleeing by dirt roads and through fields,[53] leaving behind the usual piles of antitank weapons and small mountains of other munitions. On June 29 the Russians captured the Lysychansk oil refinery.

The battle for Severodonetsk-Lisichansk metropolitan area ended with the victory of Russian-led forces. AFU forces suffered about 7,000 casualties in the Battle of Severdonetsk-Lysychansk. Mop up operations were completed by July 12, 2022. A citizen from Lysychansk described the tactics used by the Ukrainian military during the shelling of civilians. He claimed that Ukrainian servicemen killed civilians in order to take photos for foreign media.[54] The front line of Bakhmut/ArtemovskSoledar-Seversk became the new hotspot.


  6. In April 2022 there were a reported 8,000 Wagner Group personnel in Ukraine.
  11. Zelensky ignored MI6 warnings about the risk of encirclement of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Severodonetsk, 30 МАY 2022.
  13. Servicemen of the Vinnitsa Battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the actual state of affairs in the troops of Ukraine 1,071,758 views May 5, 2022. [1]
  15. "A SHOCKING VIDEO FROM THE PHONE OF A DEAD MILITANT FROM LIMAN", "They threw us to the slaughter. For 4 days already, artillery, tanks, hailstones. We ask you to take us out, but they don't take us out. We are not meat with Kalash against artillery."
  22. Servicemen of the Vinnitsa Battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the actual state of affairs in the troops of Ukraine 1,071,758 views May 5, 2022. [2]
  28. "A SHOCKING VIDEO FROM THE PHONE OF A DEAD MILITANT FROM LIMAN", "They threw us to the slaughter. For 4 days already, artillery, tanks, hailstones. We ask you to take us out, but they don't take us out. We are not meat with Kalash against artillery."
  40. Военный эксперт объяснил важность взятия Святогорска (ru) (2022-06-07).

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