Fierce fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, with Severodonetsk, a besieged city central to the Kremlin’s goal of conquering eastern Ukraine, being effectively cut off after the last bridge was destroyed. The Pentagon said Tuesday it will send additional multiple-missile systems to avert the Russian attack, as Ukrainian officials have requested dozens of the systems.
Here are updates from around the country:
Severodonetsk: Street battles rage in this disputed city and all bridges have been destroyed, making it difficult to get supplies in and get refugees out. According to local officials, about 500 civilians, including 40 children, are trapped in bunkers under a chemical plant in the city. Russian military officials say they will open a humanitarian corridor from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Moscow time on Wednesday, allowing civilians to evacuate to the Russian-occupied city of Svatove. Russian officials have called on Ukrainian troops in the city to surrender.
Elsewhere in the Donbas region: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday there had been “no drastic changes” in the fighting in Donbas over the past day. Donbas is “key to determining who will dominate the conflict in the coming weeks,” he added, noting that the more losses Russia suffers there, the less power they will have to continue their aggression. Western military analysts say river crossings will be critical in the coming weeks: A large flank of the Russian front lies west of the Donets River, which flows through eastern Ukraine and forms a natural barrier to Moscow’s advance. Russian forces have attempted to destroy bridges across the river to disrupt the flow of supplies and reinforcements to Ukrainian troops. But that has also made it harder for them to continue their own attack.
Occupied territories: Russian authorities may be accelerating plans to annex occupied territories of Ukraine and settle political and administrative contingencies for control of the annexed territories, DC think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its latest battlefield assessment. . Russian education authorities apparently already refer to Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson as regions of Russia. Zelensky vowed this week to liberate all Ukrainian territories from Russia, including the cities of Mariupol, Melitopol and Kherson.
Lateshia Beachum contributed to this report.