The Ukrainian town of Kreminna, northwest of Lysychansk, continues to see heavy fighting as the Russian military continues to renew its forces there, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, Serhiy Haidai, said on Tuesday. .
“The Russian occupation troops managed to build a very powerful defense in a month or even a little more. They bring a huge amount of reserves and equipment there. They constantly renew their forces,” Haidai said.
He said the Russian army had suffered a large number of casualties “but they are still bringing new [personnel]because they understand that if they lose the Kreminna, in principle, the whole line of defense will collapse.”
CNN was unable to verify the number of casualties on the Russian side.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged on Monday evening that the situation on the front lines in Bakhmut, Kreminna and other areas of the eastern Donbass region is “difficult, painful” as Russian forces are using all resources at their disposal. “to make at least some progress”. “
Why Kreminna matters: The city in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine has been occupied since the spring.
Kreminna is on a key north-south route from Svatove, which Russian troops used to resupply and which became even more important to them after Ukrainian troops took control of Kupyansk, a supply hub northwest of Kreminna and Svatove. The loss of Kreminna would limit Russia’s ability to resupply its troops in the key city of Severodonetsk.
Haidai said the road remained under Ukrainian fire control, which meant there was “no safe and calm way for the occupiers to get equipment or ammunition to the Kreminna using this road,” he said.
Ukrainian forces appeared poised to retake Kreminna weeks ago, but Ukrainian officials said approaches to the town were difficult due to heavy mining.
“Every meter is difficult, because everything is mined there and they are constantly bombarding with heavy caliber,” Haidai said, saying the situation in the Kreminna was “radically different from that in Bakhmut.”
“[Russian troops] try to bomb more powerfully, they have occupied all the forests, they have completely mined everything, and no one knows the map of the minefields. Therefore, it is very difficult to move forward,” Haidai said.
The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, which closely follows the conflict, said reports from Russian military bloggers suggest “Russian forces are pulling in troops from various points in the theater to fill in the gaps.” in the Svatove-Kreminna line and compensate for the continuous degradation of conventional units.