Update (0853 EST): Chechen Commander Alaudinov told his Telegram followers this morning that Chechen Akhmat Special Forces crossed the Donets River from Severodonetsk North of Lysychansk and have fought and secured the village of Pryvilla and are preparing to assault Novodruzhesk in order to complete the pincer on Lysychansk. Self Declared Luhansk Peoples Republic Commander Marochko also made similar claims with his troops.
In the last 24 hours a flurry of messaging has emerged from both Ukrainian and Russian sources as both sides jockey for information dominance concerning this key battle for Luhansk Oblast. This update will attempt to describe both narratives. There is undoubtedly a pitched battle raging in the South of Lysychansk near the oil refinery, it is not clear who maintains control of it at this time. There are also several battles raging for control of the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway to the southwest of the city.
Beginning at 0030 EST on 30JUN22, Self Declared Luhansk People’s Republic Ambassador to Russia Miroshnik told his telegram users that Russian Ground Forces had seized control of the oil refinery. He also told them that those same forces has also seized complete control of the rubber production plants adjacent to the refinery. Pro-Russian telegram users continued this line of messaging in saying that Ukrainian Ground Forces commanders had ordered their troops to withdraw and were struggling to maintain order as a chaotic retreat ensued. At 0655 EST, Pro-Russian Telegram users claimed that the commander of the Ukrainian 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade was killed during the battle for the oil refinery. Finally, this morning, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that more than 190 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in Lysychansk in the last 24 hours while Ukrainian forces were conducting a chaotic retreat from the oil refinery and surrounding areas. Pro-Russian telegram users as well as Chechen Leader Kadyrov claimed, as early as two days ago that Russian Ground Forces had seized the area southwest of Lysychansk and had cut off the Bakhmut highway, effectively trapping the remaining Ukrainian forces in the city. He claimed that Russian forces has taken the village of Topolivka.
At 0003 EST, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff announced via Facebook that Russian Ground Forces were conducting an offensive toward the Lysychansk Oil Refinery. Luhansk Governor Haidai announced at the same time that Russian Ground Forces had launched simultaneous attacks against the oil refinery and the villages of Vovchoyarivka and Verkhnokamyanka on the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway. Governor Haidai also told his Telegram followers that Russian Armed Forces were contributing “almost all their forces” through massed shelling and airstrikes against Lysychansk which completely leveled the police station in the city. The UK Ministry of Defense published at 0141 30JUN22 that Ukrainian forces ere holding heir positions on the Bakhmut Highway and the oil refinery. However, Governor Haidai said at 0058 EST on 01JUL22 that Russian forces had taken part of the oil refinery and were assaulting from the South and West. He also said the Russians had enjoyed “partial success” in assaults on Topolivka and Vovchoyarivka. At 0306 he said that Russian forces had been repelled in an assault on the Lysychansk Gelatin Plant from the direction of Loskutivka and that the Russians had seized part of the Topolivka-Lysychansk road, putting them in position to confront Ukrainian withdrawal from Lysychansk. At 0356 he told his followers to shelter in place and that civilian evacuation is now impossible towards free Ukraine.
Analysis of the current battle takes considerable effort to sift through mis/disinformation. However, there is some overlap. It is clear that Ukrainian defenses southwest of Lysychansk are struggling to hold back Russian advances that would seek to cut off the city. Of course it is in the best interest of Russian planners to cut the city off and slowly besiege the city like they did at Mariupol. It is also clear that Russian troops are inside the complex of the Lysychansk Oil Refinery, which lies on the Southwest outskirts of the city. Current local time in Lysychansk is about 1330, so there is still a full day’s fight to be had. This will be updated as more updates come through.