Kyiv, Jun 24 (EFE).- Ukrainian military authorities have ordered troops to withdraw from the embattled city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, bringing an end to a weeks-long and brutal battle for the strategic settlement in the Luhansk region.
“Defenders of Severodonetsk will leave the city for new, more fortified positions,” Serhiy Haidai, chief of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, said in a TV interview posted to his Facebook page Friday.
Haidai added that Russian forces had destroyed much of Severodonetsk, which has been besieged for weeks as Moscow tries to gain control over the entire Luhansk region.
“All critical infrastructure was wiped out, 90% of the city was damaged, 80% of residential buildings will have to be demolished as they can’t be restored,” Haidai said. “Russian troops are advancing in the direction of Lysychansk from Toshkivka-Zolote.”
“Enemy reconnaissance and subversive groups have already entered the suburbs, while attacks to penetrate farther into the city have been repulsed,” he added.
In other statements to local media, the military chief said it made no sense to remain in a position that had been bombed and broken for months and that the number of casualties was growing every day.
Russia’s offensive in Ukraine in recent weeks has refocused its efforts on trying to gain control of the eastern Donbas region, which comprises the oblasts of Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk and shares a border with Russia.
Full control of Luhansk and Donetsk would allow the Kremlin to establish a land bridge to the Crimean peninsula, which has been occupied since 2014. EFE