Luhansk has fallen, but there’s a reason why Russian generals will not be celebrating

Putin will be happy to see the lines on his map creeping westwards, but Kyiv’s troops are achieving their goal of making invaders pay dearly.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY EDITOR 4 July 2022 •

Although Russia has claimed a victory in the city of Lysychansk, leaders in Moscow and Kyiv may look favourably upon the end of the fighting in the last pocket of the Luhansk region.

The area has limited strategic value, so while it is always regrettable for a defending force to cede ground, Kyiv’s troops there have largely achieved their mission: slow the Russian advance, make the enemy pay dearly for every mile gained and get out without being decisively engaged.

Vladimir Putin will care little, if at all, for what this most tactical of victories has cost his forces.

That he is relying on tanks and men born in the 1960s and repurposing old anti-ship missiles to be used (inaccurately, as the blast in the Kremenchuk shopping mall shows) in the ground-attack role as he has so few precision-guided munitions left, shows how hollow his army is.

Putin, however, will be happy to watch the lines on his map in the Kremlin slowly creeping westwards, no matter the price for each small territorial gain.

Smoke billows over the oil refinery outside the town of Lysychansk on June 23
Smoke billows over the oil refinery outside the town of Lysychansk on June 23 CREDIT: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP

The people least happy with the situation right now must surely be the senior Russian military leadership on the ground. They can see for themselves the price of this folly, and worse, they will be able to anticipate more to come.

Many Russian generals and other senior officers have been killed in this war. Some lost their lives by having to go further forward than would normally be expected, in order to impose their personalities on reluctant and exhausted troops and keep the grinding advance going.

Others have simply been erased along with their headquarters, as the highly accurate Western-supplied heavy weapons have finally been able to reach them. A number of such headquarters have been targeted in this way in recent days, the result of a clever and efficient Ukrainian tactic.

Those generals left alive and in post (General Alexander Dvornikov, appointed in April to much fanfare as overall Russian commander in Ukraine, has apparently been sacked due to the slow progress) will not be happy with the situation.

Russia has generated nothing of the all-important momentum an attacking force needs. It is almost inconceivable they could suddenly mount an armoured breakout, even against a Ukrainian force that is itself tired and much reduced in numbers.

Kyiv’s wily and determined forces will have fallen back to pre-prepared defensive positions to the west to catch their breath and receive more of the Western military support that is finally moving in.

So, what will happen next?

Putin owns his media, so he will undoubtedly declare some form of victory. Over the Luhansk oblast, that is undeniable, but there is a lot of the Donbas still held by Kyiv.

The exhausted Russian army needs time to rest and regenerate, just as it did after being ejected from the north of the country. That would be a risk, given the heavy weapons flowing from the West, but is the correct thing to do.

If it continues to grind on, however, paying dearly for each village liberated, it will be clear the generals are being ignored and that Putin is content to continue trading lives, old and young, in the name of his territorial ambition. Kyiv will likely welcome that outcome.

6 comments

  1. Reader Peter Davies comments:

    “Tactical withdrawal was the correct thing for Ukraine to do, while waiting for the completion of training and deployment of the 50 mile range HIMARS precision rocket systems, Howitzers and 100 mile range anti-aircraft missile systems. No point in wasting lives – better to wait until you can destroy the Russian artillery and rocketry with impunity. Then the real fun can begin in decimating the Russian armaments. The balance will slowly but surely turn, and Putin knows it. He is sweating (or he wouldn’t be making threats all the time over supply of these weapons).
    Can’t wait!”

    The same commenter also writes:

    “Well one reason for changing the Russian generals running parts of the campaign is that Ukraine is gradually taking them out one by one – very low life expectancy. Putin can always promote more military officers to generals, but it is difficult to replace the skills and experience the dead generals had accumulated.
    Same goes for the over 50 colonels the Ukrainians have killed.
    Keep up the good work Ukrainian guys!”

    Liked by 4 people

  2. A kremtroll calling itself “Andrew Turvey” writes:

    “Conquering the whole of Luhansk is a significant milestone for Putin. Severodonetsk and Lyschansk fell much quicker than Mariupol and its looking bad for Slovyansk and the rest of Donetsk province. At this rate the Russians will control the whole of Donbas by August when they will be free to move onto Mykolaiv and Odessa.
    Meanwhile, western countries are tettering on the bring of recession with hyperinflation hurting and gas cuts coming.
    It’s difficult to spin this as “Russia is losing the war”

    …..

    “Tettering on the bring” is a bit of a giveaway. Some witty replies from genuine commenters:

    James Evans.
    Reply to Andrew Turvey:

    “Thanks Ivan.”

    Kenneth Pearce:

    Reply to Andrew Turvey:

    “Tettering”? качание на английском языке teetering!

    John Mercer

    Reply to Kenneth Pearce

    Kenneth,
    To be fair to Mr Turvski, “tettering on the bring” is better than my Russian.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • There’s always got to be a troll somewhere. Trying to defend something that is a categorical failure is certainly a clear sign of “trollism” or “pro-russianism”. There is not even a need for grammatical errors.
      There are four major aspects that make the taking of Luhansk Oblast a classic Pyrrhic victory; 1. The amount of time it took 2. The amount of ground it took during this time 3. The force sizes of the two opponents. 4. The casualties, both men and material.
      Mafia land has no reason to celebrate, and every military officer and expert on this globe knows it. There is no doubt about this.

      Liked by 3 people

      • France 24 English propaganda videos have a repulsive clip of Khadirovites shouting Alu Akbar. I wonder how many women and boys there can expect to be raped by them?
        We should however distinguish between normal Chechens and Khadirovites; at least as many normal Chechens fight for Ukraine as Khadirovites fight for RuZZia and have done since 2014. In fact they have lost several of their top commanders since then.
        With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that putler’s blitz of Grozny was the disgusting template for Gori, Aleppo, Mariupol, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
        At the time, western commenters believed that Chechnya should be part of Russia and that putler was getting rid of a tyrant.
        In fact the tyrant was replaced with a far worse one: as bloodthirsty and genocidal as putler himself.

        Liked by 4 people

        • The Ukrainians should leave enough sheep, donkeys, pigs and goats in areas occupied by Kadyrovites. This should prevent the raping of women and children.

          Liked by 3 people

  3. “The people least happy with the situation right now must surely be the senior Russian military leadership on the ground. They can see for themselves the price of this folly, and worse, they will be able to anticipate more to come.”

    I think those who have survived the carnage and will be thrown into the next meat grinder are the ones who are the least happy. Truthfully, I wouldn’t want to be one of them for anything in this world, despite having the stronger force. The type of warfare conducted by Moscow wastes lives like a 426 Hemi wastes fuel.

    “A number of such headquarters have been targeted in this way in recent days, the result of a clever and efficient Ukrainian tactic.”

    I’ve said it before; Ukrainian leadership is far superior to anything the cockroach army has, from the president all the way down to the common grunt sergeant in the dirt.

    “The exhausted Russian army needs time to rest and regenerate, just as it did after being ejected from the north of the country. That would be a risk, given the heavy weapons flowing from the West, but is the correct thing to do.”

    Ukrainian forces also need a rest. It’s just too bad that they don’t have enough reserves that could counterattack the cockroach army to deny them the rest they also need so much.

    Liked by 3 people

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