As Russia pummels Severodonetsk, UK predicts Luhansk will fall in 2 weeks
The UK has said that the Luhansk region in Ukraine is likely to fall in two weeks
Russia has intensified its offensive on Severodonetsk, the last bastion in Luhansk
A victory in Luhansk would be a major step in the capture of the Donbas
With Russia stepping up its offensive on the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, the UK Ministry of Defence has warned that Moscow's forces could capture the entirety of the Luhansk region in the Donbas within two weeks.
"Russia is now achieving tactical success in the Donbas. Russian forces have generated and maintained momentum and currently appear to hold the initiative over Ukrainian opposition," the UK's intelligence assessment report read.
"Russia controls over 90% of Luhansk Oblast and is likely to complete control in the next two weeks," it added.
Indeed, reports from Ukraine, including statements by Luhansk's regional governor Serhei Hayday, suggest that Russian forces have pummelled Severodonetsk, the last Ukrainian bastion in the region, over the past several days.
Having started the war on a strong note and laying siege on the capital Kyiv, Russian forces have since lost their resolve and have retreated to the contested Donbas region in the east of the country in a bid to 'liberate' the Moscow-backed rebels who have claimed independence from Ukraine and formed their own republics, namely, the Luhansk People's Republic and the Donetsk People's Republic.
However, despite focussing its forces on the Donbas, Russia has yet to achieve any significant military victory in Ukraine, barring their capture of the southern port city of Mariupol, which endured nearly three months of shelling before its capture.
In light of the state of the war in Ukraine, which has crossed the 100-day mark now, the capture of the Luhansk region would be a significant morale boost for Russian forces who have thus far struggled to get a foothold in Ukraine in the face of stiff resistance.
That being said, Russia's anticipated capture of Luhansk will not come cheap: according to the UK's assessment, Russia's recent success in the Luhansk region has come at a "significant resource cost, and by concentrating force and fires on a single part of the overall campaign."