Russian forces have cut off the last routes for citizens fleeing the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, a Ukrainian official said.
The last bridge leading to the city was destroyed, making it impossible to evacuate remaining civilians and preventing humanitarian supplies from reaching the interior of the city, according to regional governor Sergei Gaidai.
Mr Gaidai said: “It is now completely impossible, unfortunately, to drive in the city, to deliver anything to the city. Evacuation is impossible. »
He now estimates that around 70% of the city is under Russian control, but that the situation for Ukrainian troops is “difficult but under control”.
“They have the capacity to send the injured to hospitals, so there is always access,” he told the Ukrainian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “It is difficult to deliver weapons or supplies. Difficult, but not impossible. »
Ukraine has continued its calls for more Western heavy weapons to help defend Sievierodonetsk, which Kyiv says may hold the key to the battle for the eastern Donbass region.
Ukrainian forces need 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks and 1,000 drones among other heavy weapons, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said.
A briefing note from the Ukrainian military command said forces were trying to take full control of the city, but an attack on Ukrainian positions in the southeast of the city had failed.
“The battles are so fierce that fighting not just for a street but for a single high-rise building can last for days,” Mr Gaidai said.
Late Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the battle for eastern Donbass would be one of the most brutal in European history. The region, comprising the provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk, is claimed by Russian separatists.
“For us, the price of this battle is very high. It’s just scary,” he said. “We daily draw the attention of our partners to the fact that only enough modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage.”
Russia’s main goal is to protect Donetsk and Luhansk, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday after the head of one of the breakaway regions requested additional forces from Moscow.
Several recent reports from Moscow indicate that they have destroyed American and European weapons and equipment. This includes an attack on a railway station in Udachne, northwest of Donetsk, which hit equipment delivered to Ukrainian forces.
Russia criticized the United States and other countries for sending weapons to Ukraine and threatened to attack new targets if Ukraine was supplied with long-range missiles.
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Post expires at 5:39am on Friday June 24th, 2022