Russian forces will likely attempt in the coming days to cross the Siverskyi Donets River with the prospect of penetrating deep into the Donetsk region towards the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
According to Ukrinform, the UK Ministry of Defense said so in its latest information update posted on Twitter.
“In the next few days, Russian units in the area will likely give priority to forcing the crossing of the [Siverskyi Donets] River. For now, Russia’s main effort likely remains 40km to the east, around the Sievierodonetsk pocket,” the statement said.
By May 27, according to British intelligence, Russian forces had probably captured most of the town of Lyman in the northern Donetsk region in what is likely a preliminary operation for the next stage of the Russian offensive in Donbass.
“Lyman is strategically important as it is the site of an important railway junction and also provides access to important railway and road bridges over the Siverskyi Donets River,” the ministry said.
At the same time, a bridgehead near Lyman would give Russia an advantage in the potential next phase of the Donbass offensive, when it will likely seek to advance on key Ukrainian-held towns deeper in the region. from Donetsk, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
“If Russia succeeded in gaining control of these areas, it would most likely be viewed by the Kremlin as a substantial political achievement and presented to the Russian people as justification for the invasion,” British intelligence said.
At the same time, according to the update, the Ukrainian armed forces continue “to conduct a well-organized defense of the sector and continue to impose a high level of losses on Russia”.
Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said earlier that Russian troops had retreated to the Sievierodonetsk, Toshkivka and Oskolonivka region.