Institute for the Study of War: Russian forces continue drive to surround Severodonetsk
May 21, 2022
Russian forces intensified efforts to encircle and capture Severodonetsk on May 21 and will likely continue to do so in the coming days as efforts on other axes of advance, including Izyum, remain largely stalled. Russian troops in Luhansk Oblast will likely move to capitalize on recent gains made in the Rubizhne-Severodonetsk-Luhansk-Popasna arc to encircle and besiege Severodonetsk—the final Ukrainian strongpoint in Luhansk Oblast. Russian milbloggers are hypothesizing on the success of Russian tactics in the area and have dubbed it the Battle of Severodonetsk—emphasizing that this is the preliminary line of effort in the Donbas theatre.
Russian forces are conducting operations to cut off Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) between Severodonetsk and Lysychansk across the Severskyi Donetsk River.
The information space in Mariupol will likely become increasingly restricted in the coming weeks as Russian forces shift focus from completing the capture of the Azovstal Steel Plant to consolidating occupational control of the city.
Russian troops are likely reinforcing their grouping around Kharkiv City to prevent further Ukrainian advances toward the international border.
Russian forces may be assembling forces in certain areas of Zaporizhia and Kherson oblasts to initiate further offensive operations on the southern axis.