Here is an update on the military situation on the 129th day of the war based on information from AFP journalists on site, official Ukrainian and Russian statements, Western sources, analysts and international organizations.
The last major city in the Lugansk region controlled by the Ukrainian army, Lyssytchansk has been the subject of intense fighting for several days and gave rise to different versions on Saturday as to the situation on the ground.
On the separatist side supported by Russian forces, a representative of the Lugansk separatist army, Andrei Marotchko, quoted by the Russian news agency TASS, said that the locality was “totally surrounded”.
“Fighting is raging around Lysytchansk. Fortunately, the city is not surrounded and it is under the control of the Ukrainian army,” Ruslan Mouzychuk, spokesman for the National Guard of Ukraine, told Ukrainian television. .
In the morning, the Ukrainian general staff had claimed to have repelled a Russian offensive towards a locality a few kilometers west of Lyssytchansk with the aim of encircling the city.
The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) had for its part evoked Russian “offensive operations” carried out on Friday south and southwest of Lysytchansk with the “aim of encircling the city and cutting off the roads Ukrainian logistics”.
Also according to the ISW, Russian forces “carried out artillery fire and airstrikes along the T1302 Bakhmut-Lyssychansk highway”, but did not completely cut off the road on Friday.
The capture of Lyssytchansk would allow the Russian army to then advance towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, two other large cities in the industrial region of Donbass, which Moscow is seeking to conquer.
– Sloviansk et Kharkiv –
Also in the east, at least four civilians have been killed and 12 injured in Sloviansk since Friday morning, according to the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko.
A rocket attack notably hit inhabited houses on Friday evening, causing the death of a woman who was in her garden and injuring her husband, a neighbor told an AFP journalist on Saturday morning.
In Kharkiv, the second city of Ukraine, “the morning […] was particularly agitated”, indicated the regional governor Oleg Sinegoubov, according to whom missiles struck a district of the city without making victims.
Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, said the Russian Air Force hit the local tractor factory in Kharkiv where troops and equipment from the 10th Assault Brigade were located. of Ukrainian mountain.
– Tens of thousands dead –
There is no overall assessment of the civilian victims of the conflict. On the military level, Western security sources now evoke 15,000 to 20,000 Russian soldiers killed. Ukrainian forces are losing around 100 soldiers every day, according to kyiv.
No independent figures are available.
– Displaced persons and refugees –
More than six million Ukrainians are internally displaced, according to a new count on Tuesday from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
In addition, “nearly 16 million people in Ukraine today need humanitarian aid: in water, food, health services”, estimated Thursday Osnat Lubrani, the UN humanitarian coordinator in this country.
They join the more than 5.2 million Ukrainians registered as refugees in other European states since the start of the conflict on February 24.