Russian forces have likely occupied Lysychansk, with pro-Russian sources citing Kadyrov’s declarations that the city was in Russian hands. Though some Ukrainian sources have claimed that fighting is still underway, Western analysts seem to assess that Ukraine likely withdrew from Lysychansk to avoid a potential encirclement.
Amidst weapon deliveries and an increase in western support, the loss of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk put pressure on Ukraine to achieve tangible results with which to rally western support. The liberation of Snake Island was certainly a propaganda victory, but the war on the ground has remained visually static to the average western observer. With Russian forces slowly but gradually advancing in the Donbas and Ukraine making limited actions near Kherson, the last major victory won by Ukraine was likely the battle of Kharkiv.
Though weapons like HIMARS have begun playing a crucial role on the battlefield, the United States has often warned against the idea that a single weapons system could change the war. As Ukraine’s army westernizes, it will need continuous support to ensure that Russian forces can be checked, particularly in light of provocations from Belarus in the north. Though a Belarusian assault is likely to go horribly wrong, it could force Ukraine to divert troops from the east and south, worsening conditions in the Donbas and potentially deferring planned counteroffensives in Kherson.
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