Russian state owned media, Pro-Russian telegram users, and Chechen Leader Kadyrov have made claims in the past 24 hours that encircled Ukrainian troops in Zolote and Hirske, major settlements south of the major city which is still supporting Ukrainian Ground Forces in Severodonetsk. In the last week, Russian Ground Forces have switched to a flanking maneuver as their main effort as opposed to carrying Severodonetsk by force then making a contested crossing of the Donets River into Lysychansk. That tactic is proving fruitful as their forces make major advances to the city.
Yesterday, Russian social media was abuzz with combat footage and bold claims that Zolote and Hirske were under control of Russian Ground Forces. However, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and Pro-Ukrainian social media claimed that Russian forces were attempting to encircle the settlements, but Ukrainian forces have escaped or secured escape routes.
However, 30 minutes ago, Chechen forces under the command of Zamid Chalayev, claimed they captured more than 1,800 Ukrainian troops and more than 80 foreign volunteers were captured at the “Gorsky Cauldron”, the name given to that region. However, these claims have not been refuted or confirmed by Ukrainian forces.
If these settlements have fallen, the constant shelling of Bila Hora may turn into an infantry advance which would position Russian forces on the outskirts of the Mechanical Rubber Plant in Lysychansk, on the edge of the Donets River. The situation is slowly collapsing in Luhansk for Ukrainian forces as LPR Lt.Col Marochko claims their forces will encircle Lysychansk in the next 3-4 days.
The Ukrainian Mission to the EU, which just achieved candidate status yesterday, is currently making overtures for humanitarian assistance due to the “catastrophe” in Lysychansk where more than 300 civilians have been killed in the last 3 days due to Russian shelling.
This is the most important battlefield in Ukraine at the moment, check back for updates.