The city of Lyssychansk fell to Russian troops on Sunday, July 3, with the Ukrainian army confirming, a few hours after Moscow’s victorious announcement, that it had ordered its fighters to evacuate the city. After the fall of Sievierodonetsk, ten days earlier, on June 24, Ukraine has de facto lost control of the province of Luhansk, one of the two regions of Donbass, even if the Russian forces still have a few villages to conquer.

The fall of Lyssychansk was written not only since the fall of Sievierodonetsk, but especially since the fragile supply road linking it to the neighboring province of Donetsk was about to be cut off. Apart from the fact that the bombardments against Lyssychansk were becoming too intense for Ukrainian forces still lacking artillery and ammunition in the Luhansk pocket, the risk was above all that the Ukrainian defenders would find themselves surrounded. Since the siege of Mariupol, which ended on 20 May with the surrender of Ukrainian forces, Kiev has been careful not to repeat this kind of humiliation and to avoid at all costs that its soldiers find themselves surrounded.

“In order to preserve the lives of Ukrainian defenders, the decision was made to withdraw [from Lyssychansk], the Ukrainian General Staff announced in a statement. Under the conditions of superiority of Russian troops in artillery, air forces, missile launching systems, ammunition and personnel, continuing the defense of the city would have had fatal consequences.”