Kyiv/Moscow, Jun 15 (EFE).- Russia and Ukraine on Wednesday failed to evacuate hundreds of civilians holed up at the Azot chemical plant located in the industrial area of the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine’s last foothold in a city overwhelmed by Moscow’s invading forces.
The situation in heavily bombarded Sievierodonetsk threatens to become a repeat of Mariupol, the southeastern city where civilians and Ukrainian soldiers were held out for a month at the Azovstal steel plant.
Pro-Russian separatist forces blamed the failed evacuation, a plan announced by the Kremlin on Tuesday, on Kyiv, claiming that Ukrainian troops had opened fire on Russian forces near the humanitarian corridor.
“We held our fire and organized a corridor from the entrance of the factory to the exit in Severodonetsk, but at 8.10am (5.10am GMT), the Ukrainian side opened fire,” Alexandr Nikishin, a representative of separatist forces in Luhansk, claimed.
He said that just one person, a 74-year-old man, was able to leave the plant, adding that the individual had apparently not been informed about the evacuation plan.
Between 500 and 1,500 civilians are thought to be sheltering alongside Ukrainian troops at the Azot plant.
Kyiv has yet to comment on the evacuation plans but accused Russia of bombing the chemical plant in recent hours.
While Ukraine’s soldiers are clinging on to territory in Sievierodonetsk, fighting continues along other fronts.
According to the United States-based Institute for the Study of War, Russian forces are preparing for offensive operations to the southeast of Izyum and to the west of Lyman.
Russian military pressure is still being felt in the Kharkiv region, the center added.
In a speech published on social media, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian forces were suffering heavy losses in Sievierodonetsk and the Kharkiv region. EFE