Russia has blown up a bridge connecting the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk to another city across the river, according to Ukrainian officials. The destruction of the bridge cut off a possible escape route for civilians.
Severodonetsk is the last major city in the Donbass under Ukrainian control. Pro-Russian separatists have held territory in Donbass since 2014 and the fight between Russia and Ukraine over Severodonetsk is linked to control of Donbass. Parts of the city have been pulverized in some of the bloodiest battles since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
“The key tactical objective of the occupiers has not changed: they are pressing Sievierodonetsk, heavy fighting is taking place there – literally for every meter,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address, adding that the he Russian army was trying to deploy a reserve. forces in Donbass.
He said the image of a 12-year-old child injured in a Russian attack was the enduring face representing Russia’s deeds.
“These very facts will highlight how Russia is perceived by the world,” he said.
“Not Peter the Great, not Lev Tolstoy, but children injured and killed in Russian attacks,” he said, in an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks last week comparing Moscow’s military campaign to the conquest of land by Russian Emperor Peter the Great in the 18th century. owned by Sweden.
Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk province in Donbass, said two armies were fighting street to street on Sunday. He said the Russians controlled most of the city, but Ukraine retained control of the industrial area and the Azot chemical plant.
Civilians took refuge in the chemical plant.
“About 500 civilians remain on the territory of the Azot plant in Sievierodonetsk, 40 of them are children. Sometimes the army manages to evacuate someone,” Gaidai said.
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The Russians destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Sievierodonetsk to its twin city of Lysychansk, Gaidai said.
This left only one of the three bridges still standing.
“If after another shelling the bridge collapses, the city will be truly isolated. There will be no way to leave Sievierodonetsk by vehicle,” Gaidai said, noting the lack of a ceasefire agreement. and agreed evacuation corridors.
(With agency contributions)
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