Between January 24 and 26, Ukraine’s military spokesman Colonel Andriy Lysenko has claimed, 14 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and another 92 have been wounded in fighting across the country, with many of those casualties incurred near Donetsk, Lugansk, and Mariupol. These three cities now represent three fronts on which Ukraine is currently losing against forces armed, trained and backed by Vladimir Putin.
Near Lugansk, the separatists are pushing north and west in an apparent attempt to secure more border crossings with Russia and a key highway that runs between the city and Donetsk. This front is important for several reasons, not the least of which is that border crossings can more easily allow the transfer of Russian soldiers and military hardware into Ukraine. (The more border crossings the separatists control, the easier it its for them hide these movements from international observers and reporters.) Ukraine’s forces have largely held their ground here, though they have lost territory on the Bakhmutka Highway. If the separatists can secure this highway, the time it’d take them to resupply the front in Donetsk would be greatly reduced.