Latest news on the war between Russia and Ukraine: live updates

Credit…Nicole Tung for The New York Times

Ukraine, fresh from a string of victories in the northeast, now stands at the gateway to the eastern Donbas region and may have its best chance yet to dislodge Russian forces who expanded their control over the area after of a brutal combat this summer. Lysychanskwhich only three months ago fell to the Russians in a demoralizing setback for Kyiv, could be the next big city in Ukraine’s sights.

That a battle to recapture Lysychansk is even conceivable shows how much the tables have turned in the east in the few weeks since Ukraine launched a surprise counteroffensive in the northeastern Kharkiv region. The relative speed of their victories is a stark contrast to Russia’s harsh summer assault on Donbass.

“The offensive movement of our army and all our defenders continued,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an upbeat speech overnight, saying 450 settlements in Kharkiv had been recaptured. “There are new settlements liberated in various regions.”

“Fierce fighting continues in many areas of the front,” he said.

Over the weekend, Ukraine recaptured the city of Lyman, a strategic rail hub in the north of Donetsk, one of the two territories that make up the Donbas, and has continued to push east towards Lysychansk.

To seize Lysychansk and its sister city of Sievierodonetsk, which lie north of Lugansk, the other territory that makes up Donbas, Russia pounded Ukrainian forces with artillery for weeks before street-by-street fighting finally forced a retreat. from Ukraine. Before Lyman fell, Ukrainian soldiers gradually surrounded the city, and it fell last week after only days of intense combat.

Analysts point to Ukraine’s success in cutting off Russian supply routes as key to its momentum. When Russia was pushed out of Kharkiv last month, it lost control of its rail hub in the city of Izium, making it very difficult for Moscow to resupply its forces further south in Donbas and leaving them vulnerable.

Russia announced a surprise military call-up last month, with the country’s Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu saying on Telegram on Tuesday that Moscow had recruited more than 200,000 soldiers out of a planned 300,000. Although they have had little time to train, new troops from the recent mobilization have begun to arrive in Ukraine, the Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Ukrainian soldiers have been met by hungry and poorly equipped Russian troops, some with little weaponry to defend themselves.

Russia’s military is likely to face a decision on whether to shift resources from other parts of the front to slow Ukraine’s advance or risk losing more ground in Donbass. Some of the closest Russian reinforcements are about 25 miles southeast of Lyman, around the Ukrainian-controlled town of Bakhmut. The Wagner Group, an infamous paramilitary unit reporting directly to the Kremlin, has pummeled Ukrainian defenders there but failed to seize the city.

But the question remains how long the Ukrainian momentum can last. In recent days, some Ukrainian soldiers in Kharkiv province have spoken of exhaustion after weeks of relentless fighting.

Ben Barry, a senior ground warfare research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, said the advance would most likely reach a “tipping point” after which the offensive would be difficult to sustain because forces would need to be rotated and replenished. troops. .

Ukraine’s achievements have not alleviated the danger to civilians, as the fighting continues to take its toll. A convoy of people Fleeing from Svatove, in Luhansk, he was attacked in recent days and 24 people, including 13 children, were killed, Ukrainian authorities said. And on Monday, Russian artillery fire at a hospital in the Kharkiv region’s Kupiansk district killed a doctor and wounded two nurses, according to the head of its military administration, Oleh Syniehubov.

Russia’s losses on the battlefield have come even as Moscow claims that four Ukrainian regions where fierce fighting continues are now part of Russia, a move that has drawn widespread international ridicule.

Tass, a Russian state news agency, reported on Tuesday that the upper house of the country’s parliament, the Federation Council, had approved a law to annex Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as two provinces in southern Ukraine, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. .

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is likely to sign the law, which follows referendums in the provinces denounced as a sham by Ukraine and its Western partners.

Zelensky said on Tuesday that given Russia’s “attempt to annex territories,” he had approved a decision by the country’s security council on the “impossibility of holding negotiations” with Putin.

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