The number of victims in Ukraine in the battle for the Donbass is immense. Kyiv once again spoke of the fact that up to 100 soldiers die every day. The losses are so high that some experts doubt that Ukraine will still be capable of a significant counter-offensive in a few weeks. So the question is: Why is Ukraine, why is the General Staff in Kyiv holding on to the defense of Sieverodonetsk for so long? Yes, even sent troops to reinforce.

As Zelenskyj said on Thursday night, the battle for Sievjerodonetsk will decide the fate of Donbass. He warned on Wednesday that if Russia conquered the Donbass, the troops would have a good starting point to advance into central Ukraine.

From a military-tactical point of view, Selenskyj’s statement is surprising. Because the Ukrainian troops could retreat to the neighboring city of Lyssychansk to the west. It offers good defense requirements. It is located on a hill and is separated from Sievjerodonetsk by a river.

Lysychansk would be easier to hold. Some observers assume that the decision-makers in Kyiv will instruct exactly this step in the coming days. Of course, Lyssychansk is also currently under heavy fire from Russian units.

But Zelenskyy noted a few days ago, and the same applied to Mariupol, that it may be harder to recapture a city than to hold it. Ukraine’s goal is to liberate all territories occupied by Russia. The Ukrainian offensive in the south, near Cherson, which is only slowly getting underway, shows how tough this is.

In addition, the loss of Sieverodonetsk – if not a militarily significant defeat – would at least be a symbolically significant loss. Then Ukraine would only control Lysychansk in the Luhansk region. The Ukrainians may also be hoping to increase the losses on the Russian side to such an extent that their advance will be slowed down in the long term.

The Ukrainians are convinced that what would help them: long-range rocket launchers from the West. That would clear Sieverodonetsk “in two to three days,” said Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, on Thursday. However, these weapons will not be at the front for two to three weeks at the earliest. Ukrainian soldiers are currently being trained in Poland on the US systems.

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