In a new Telegram post Igor Girkin claims Armed Forces of Ukraine are withdrawing from Lysychansk:
Throughout yesterday and last night the enemy while covering behind weak rearguards conducted a fast withdrawal from Lysyhansk and its surroundings. In some sections the enemy’s withdrawal was so quick that units of LDPR AF were unable to closely pursue them due to an almost complete lack of combat wheeled and track vehicles. At the moment fierce fights are only taking place in the “neck” of the “bag”, where the enemy is holding positions with an aim to allow as many of their detachments as possible to withdraw. Up to a half of the city is already abandoned, clearing is taking place. The enemy also dumped their positions at Siverskyi Donets north of Lysychansk and our units there have already crossed the river.
Most likely the battle for Lysychansk will end within the next (perhaps slightly longer) day, and the general operation will end this week.
The operation will end when our units chasing the withdrawing forces of UAF will run into the newly organised defence line at Seversk.
In general – the enemy has already suffered, and will inevitably suffer significant losses during the retreat (most of all in vehicles). But it will preserve the bulk of the experienced manpower. In this case from UAF’s side there is an obvious primacy of military expediency over political-propagandist aims. From RF AF side there is a tactical victory. Creating a “cauldron” with a complete destruction of Severodonetsk-Lysychansk group of the enemy was not achieved despite all the efforts and very sensitive (in total over one and half months) losses. As a bonus, Lysychansk will not be razed to the ground during prolonged street fights.
In general, Lysychansk has been finally finished.
Fitting into this claim is the following message by pro-Russian “Yuzhnyi Veter” channel, dated 26 June, which says withdrawal from Lysychansk is expected:
UAF withdrew from Severodonetsk, the withdrawal from Lysychansk is planned through conducting active defence with gradual abandonment of positions.
Regarding the direction of further offensive operations, only the Wagner PMC’s attack on Bakhmut remains in the active phase, however the whole line of defence there has been dug up with trenches wo or three echelons deep.
At the same time, Ukrainian General Staff has already begun regrouping and is now transferring recently formed detachments both to Donbas and Zaporizhye. These brigades most likely will replace those who suffered the most at the frontline.
The bottom line is that in a month after restoring the combat readiness, UAF will once again have strategic reserves of 5-6 brigades, which together with additional foreign weapon supplies can create conditions for counter-attacking activities. Therefore, the start of these is likely possible in August, roughly when the head of GUR Budanov predicted.