Saturday’s rapid offensive did not end at Izyum, as Ukraine appears to have opened a new front against Russian defenses on the border between Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The head of the regional military administration of Lugansk, Sergei Gaidai, indicated that the target of the new offensive was the city of Lisichansk.
Lisichansk was the last city in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine to fall under Russian control in July after weeks of heavy fighting. Hayday told CNN on Saturday that “the occupiers, including both collaborators and the military, are fleeing in a hurry.”
“Locals have videos and photos to prove it,” Hayday said. He said visual evidence could not be shared for security reasons.
“Svatovo, Starobelsk, Novopskov are trying not to go to Lugansk, but to the border with Russia in Milovo,” he added.
CNN can’t confirm Heidey’s claim, but at least one border crossing into Russia is lined up with vehicles.
Hayday also told CNN that the Russians had failed to build a defensive line in Luhansk. “Svatovo, Starobilsk is open countryside, so there’s nowhere to hide.”
He stated that Russian troops were leaving the city of Svatovo. If this is true, then it would be of great importance, since Svatovo is a key link in Russian supply lines in part of the occupied Luhansk region.
In another sign of Ukraine’s progress, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, acknowledged that the situation in northern Donetsk had become “quite difficult.”
Pushilin said on his Telegram channel that in the city of Liman, not far from the Ukrainian-held city of Slavyansk, “the situation is quite difficult, as in a number of settlements in the north of the republic.”
“However, I am in touch with local administrations, with emergency services and with our units. There is more information, but I cannot disclose it yet, as this could harm our units,” he said.