Russian troops control over 70% of Severodonetsk, says Ukraine
Kyiv, June 13 (EFE).- Russian forces now control 70 percent of the eastern strategic city of Severodonetsk, Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region, said on Monday.
Haidai said in a Telegram post that evacuation efforts were impossible in the besieged region due to heavy shelling.
The regional governor said Ukraine was negotiating the evacuation of hundreds of civilians holed up inside the Azot chemical plant that had come under the heavy Russian artillery fire.
“The Russians have total control of most of Severodonetsk. The fightings is so heavy that it can last for a day, not even for the street, but for just one storey (of a building),” Haidai said.
He said the Russians control 70 percent of Severodonetsk and that “mass evacuation and provision of humanitarian aid are impossible due to the bombing.”
“(Ukrainian) soldiers manage to evacuate only a few people a day,” he said.
He said around 500 civilians remained at the Azot plant, and 40 of them were children.
“The industrial zone is being heavily bombarded by large-caliber enemy artillery,” the governor said.
He specified the Azot shelters were not as strong as those of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, defended for weeks by the Azov regiment, so people must be removed “necessarily with security guarantees.”
“We are trying to negotiate a corridor without success so far,” he said.
Russian troops have been trying to encircle and seize Severodonetsk for the past many weeks. Losing the strategic city would deal a major blow to the Ukrainian armed forces.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also said the fighting was severe in Severodonetsk, which has turned into an epicenter of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
There are fears that Severodonetsk and its civilians could be cut off soon, with Governor Haidai saying only one bridge to the city was left.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian armed forces said Monday that the Russian army, with artillery support, conducted assault operations in the strategic city of Severodonetsk, focusing on encircling the remaining Ukrainian troops in the area.
The Russians had “partial success” in pushing Ukrainian troops away from the city’s center while fighting continues, the General Staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said in its latest report.
“In the Donetsk direction, the occupying forces are focusing on offensive operations to encircle our troops in the areas of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, and to block logistics routes from Bakhmut,” another city in the area, the report said.
“It (the Russian army) moved more than 80 weapons and military equipment, including heavy armored vehicles and artillery systems, to the settlements of Kreminna and Starobilsk,” also near Severodonetsk, the Ukrainian armed forces said.
In the Kharkiv region, neighboring Donetsk, whose capital is Ukraine’s second-largest city, the “enemy units continue to focus their main efforts on conducting positional defense and preventing the further advance of our troops to the state border of Ukraine.”
In this area, the Russians “carried out assault operations in the direction of Ternov – Izbytske, had partial success, established itself on its northern outskirts” and “remotely mined possible routes of deployment of our units in the area of ??the settlement of Petrivka, 20 km east of Stary Saltiv” according to the report.
In the direction of Slovyansk, another of Moscow’s objectives in the Donetsk region, the Russians “focused their efforts on storming the settlements of Dolyna and Bohorodychne, but were unsuccessful. The enemy, as part of the logistics of troops, replaced more than 100 units of damaged armored vehicles,” the General Staff said.