The Fall of Luhansk Puts Putin to the Test

On March 25th, one month after the battle for Hostomel Airport and the failed Russian offensive to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and the strategic Northeastern city of Kharkiv, President Putin announced a strategic shift to focus his nearly 300,000 troops to “liberate” the Donbass Coal Basin oblasts of Luhansk and Donetsk. Each Oblast is home to a self-declared breakaway republic supported by the Russian Federation since 2014.

With the complete conquest of Luhansk, announced after yesterdays capture of Lysychansk, Russian President Putin must now make a decision: to honor the promise made to the Russian people and the international community of sticking to the scaled back war aims or continuing on into Ukrainian held territory in the Kharkivska Oblast.

Russian Defense Minister Shoigu reported this morning to President Putin that the liberation mission of Luhansk on behalf of the Luhansk Peoples Republic is accomplished. However, the Luhansk Peoples Republic Leader Pasechnik told local media that:

“The territory of the republic has been liberated. But, unfortunately, the safety of the residents of the republic on our territory has not been fully ensured. Those long-range guns, those MLRS that were supplied to the Ukrainian army, unfortunately by the West, they reach our territory and carry “This is a huge threat. Therefore, the territory has been liberated, but the fighting, the war does not end – we must push the enemy to a territory that is safe for us, at least,” Pasechnik said on Channel One.
In addition, he recalled that “the task was to carry out the denazification and demilitarization of all of Ukraine , no one canceled the task.”
Self Declared Luhansk Peoples Republic Leader Pasechnik

“We must fulfill all the set tasks,” Pasechnik said. This rhetoric from the leader of one of the “liberated” oblasts could indicate similar over confident opinions by members of Putin’s decision making circle. The Russian Federation could concentrate its forces in Donetsk or worst case scenario, against Kharkiv where Ukrainian forces have pushed back to the Russian border. Whatever happens in the next two weeks will indicate President Putin’s decision making calculus on recent success.

Tessaron
Tessaron
United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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