Twitter users reported that Russian Ground Forces raised the Russian Federation Flag on the roof of the City Executive Committee in the city center of the strategic Ukrainian city in Luhansk Oblast. This city s key in the Russian Ground Force’s attempt to push South from Izyum in order to encircle a large Ukrainian troop concentration near Severodonetsk. However, the Ukrainian General Staff has announced Lyman is not lost, and Russian troops were “on the outskirts of the city” yesterday. The video below shows Ukrainian civilians showing the aftermath of Russian shelling to their apartment complex in Eastern Lyman.
Self Declared Peoples Republic of Luhansk has actually claimed this morning that Severodonetsk has been encircled in a much smaller double envelopment, but a large Ukrainian force in Lysychansk has already fortified outside of the pincers. There are approximately 93 Russian BTGs in the Donbass, attempting to destroy the Ukrainian Army in what they call the Joint Forces Operation Area or the JFO. At the beginning of the invasion only 25-30 Ukrainian BTGs were in the JFO, that number has most likely increased to 50, but with the current Russian operation, it is plausible that more than 100 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed daily.
The Institute for War has predicted that Russian Ground Forces have likely abandoned teh strategic obejctive of encircling Ukrainina tropps in the JFO, and have instead opted for smaller encirlcments in order to achieve tactical objectives due to the large number of casualties in the East. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai reported that Ukrainian forces only controlled approximately 10 percent of Luhansk Oblast as of May 15 (compared to 30 percent prior to the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24, 2022). Russian forces have secured more terrain in the past week than efforts earlier in May. However, they have done so by reducing the scope of their objectives—largely abandoning operations around Izyum and concentrating on key frontline towns: Russian performance remains poor. Haidai also claims that Russian troops are within mortar range of the Severodnetsk but refutes claims that they have seized the road between Lysychansk and Bakhmut. Regardless, the situation is looking dire for Ukrainian defenders of the pocket there if they are not reinforced or if they cannot remove themselves from a possible encirclement. These developments come as Ukrainian forces near Kharkiv have made gains all the way to the Russian border.