sievierodonetsk: Russian troops enter Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine – Times of India

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The Russia-ravaged eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk appeared on the brink of becoming another Mariupol on Monday, as services and aid have been halted and Moscow seeks to conquer the entire industrial Donbas region of Ukraine.
Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said Russians have invaded the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk and are moving to nearby Lysychansk. He said two civilians were killed and another five injured in the last Russian shelling of the war.
The Ukrainian army said Russian forces were fortifying their positions on the northeastern and southeastern outskirts of Sievierodonetsk and bringing additional equipment and ammunition to the area to advance their offensive.
Russian troops stormed Sievierodonetsk after unsuccessfully trying to surround it, Ukrainian officials said, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has described the situation there as “indescribably difficult”. An intense barrage of Russian artillery has destroyed critical infrastructure and damaged 90% of buildings.
Sievierodonetsk, located 143 kilometers (89 miles) south of the Russian border, has become the epicenter of the Donbas fighting in recent days. Mariupol is the city on the Sea of ​​Azov that spent nearly three months under Russian siege before the last Ukrainian fighters surrendered.
Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk span the strategically important Siverskiy Donetsk River. They are the last major areas under Ukrainian control in Luhansk Province, which together with the neighboring Donetsk region form the Donbas.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told French TF1 television on Sunday that Moscow’s “unreserved priority is the liberation of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions”, adding that Russia considers them “independent states”. He also suggested that other regions of Ukraine should be able to establish close ties with Russia.
The Ukrainian army reported heavy fighting around Donetsk, the provincial capital, and Lyman to the north, a small town that serves as a major rail hub in the Donetsk region.
“The enemy is strengthening its units,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said. “It is trying to gain a foothold in the area.”
Zelenskyy will address European Union leaders on Monday as they rally in a new show of solidarity with Ukraine amid divisions over whether or not to attack Russian oil in a new set of sanctions. He has repeatedly demanded that the EU target Russia’s lucrative energy sector and deprive Moscow of billions of dollars in supply payments every day.
Zelenskyy visited soldiers on Sunday in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, where Ukrainian fighters drove back Russian troops from nearby positions several weeks ago. Russia has continued its bombardment of the northeastern city from afar, and explosions were heard shortly after Zelensky’s visit. Shelling and airstrikes have destroyed more than 2,000 apartment buildings in the city since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to regional governor Oleh Syniehubov.
In a video address later Sunday, Zelenskyy praised Kharkiv’s regional officials but said he fired the regional head of the country’s top security agency, the SBU, for his poor performance. In the wider Kharkov region, Russian forces still control about a third of the territory, Zelenskyy said.
In Luhansk, constant Russian shelling has led to what provincial governor Serhiy Haidai called a “serious situation”. But some supply and evacuation routes in Luhansk were functioning Sunday, he said. He claimed that the Russians had retreated “with losses” around a village near Sievierodonetsk, but had launched air raids on another nearby river village.
The mayor of Sievierodonetsk, Oleksandr Striuk, estimates that 1,500 civilians have died in the city since the start of the war, both from Russian attacks and a lack of medicine or treatment.
The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank based in Washington, questioned the Kremlin’s strategy of launching a massive military effort to take Sieverodonetsk, saying it would prove costly to Russia and few. would yield returns.
On Sunday, an aide to the Ukrainian mayor in Mariupol claimed that after Russian troops took full control of the city, they piled the bodies of dead people in a supermarket. Petro Andryushchenko, posted a photo on the Telegram messaging app showing bodies stacked next to closed supermarket counters. It was not immediately possible to verify his claim.





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