Russian forces control half of the east Ukraine city of Severodonetsk, a Ukrainian military official said Tuesday, as Moscow’s army continues an unrelenting push deeper into the Donbas region.
“Unfortunately, the front line divides the city in half. But the city is still defending itself, the city is still Ukrainian, our soldiers are defending it,” said Oleksandr Stryuk, head of the city’s military and civil administration, said in a live broadcast.
After failing to capture the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in the early stages of the war, Russia has shifted its focus to the eastern Donbas region and is attempting to consolidate areas under its control.
Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday earlier described the situation in Severodonetsk as “extremely complicated” conceding that parts of the city were controlled by Russian forces.
He said Ukrainian forces still retained some areas within the east Ukraine industrial city and that they were making it impossible for Moscow’s troops to “move freely through the city”.
Gaiday also claimed “the enemy is planning an operation to clear the surrounding villages”.
Severodonetsk, which had a pre-war population of around 100,000 people, is one of several important urban hubs that lie on Russia’s path to capturing the entire Lugansk region and east Ukraine’s de-facto administrative centre, Kramatorsk.