Saturday’s swift offensive doesn’t end with Izium, as Ukraine appears to have opened a new front against Russian defenses on the border of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The head of Luhansk’s regional military administration, Serhiy Hayday, said the city of Lysychansk was the target of the new attack.
Lysychansk was the last city in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine to fall under Russian control in July, after weeks of intense fighting. Hayday told CNN Saturday “occupiers, including collaborators and troops, are fleeing in a hurry.”
“Locals have videos and photos that prove it,” says Hayday. He said he could not share visual evidence for security reasons.
“People from Svatove, Starobilsk, Novopskov are trying to leave, not to Luhansk, but to the border with Russia at Milove,” he added.
CNN could not verify Hayday’s claims, but at least one person crossing the border into Russia witnessed the flow of vehicles take shape.
Hayday also told CNN that the Russians had failed to build defenses in Luhansk. “Svatove, Starobilsk – this is an open country countryside, so there is nowhere to hide.”
He announced the Russian forces had left the town of Svatove. If true, it would be crucial because Svatove is an important link in Russian supply lines to parts of the occupied Luhansk region.
In another sign of Ukraine’s advances, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, admitted that the situation in northern Donetsk had become “quite difficult”.
Pushilin said on his Telegram channel that in the town of Lyman, not far from the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk, that “the situation is quite difficult, like in some settlements in the North of the Republic.”
“However, I am in contact with the local authorities, with the emergency services and with our units. There is more information but I cannot disclose it right now, as it could be harmful to our unit,” he said.