Ukrainian forces still control all of Lysychansk, but in Sievierodonetsk, across the Siversky Donets River, they hold only a chemical plant where civilians are also reported to be sheltering, Mr. Haidai said on Monday.
In addition to Luhansk province, the Russians control about half of Donetsk province and are pushing from the east, north and south to take more territory. But analysts say that Russia’s battered forces face an even more difficult battle to seize more of Donetsk.
A British military intelligence report on Wednesday said that Moscow-backed separatist forces in Donetsk had reported the killing of more than 2,000 of its personnel this year and the wounding of almost 9,000. Those figures amounted to 55 percent of its original force, the British assessment said, which “highlights the extraordinary attrition Russian and pro-Russian forces are suffering in the Donbas.”
Ukrainian forces have also taken heavy casualties and are relying more frequently on undertrained units to hold parts of the eastern front line.
For both Russia and Ukraine, “the ability to generate and deploy reserve units to the front is likely becoming increasingly critical to the outcome of the war.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said in an overnight address that his country’s army, with the help of “tactical moves,” was strengthening its defense in Luhansk, a possible reference to the arrival of longer-range artillery supplied by the United States and some European governments. But he acknowledged that Luhansk was “really the toughest area right now.”