Russian forces have lower off all routes for evacuating residents from the japanese Ukrainian metropolis of Severodonetsk by destroying the final bridge linking it to a Ukrainian-held metropolis on the opposite facet of the river, a Ukrainian official mentioned.
Regional Governor Serhiy Haidai mentioned on social media on Monday that some 70 p.c of Severodonetsk was below enemy management, because the Russian offensive within the japanese Donbas area moved nearer to securing a breakthrough victory.
Haidai described the scenario of Ukrainian troopers holding out within the metropolis as “troublesome, however below management”. He mentioned the destruction of the final bridge throughout the river to the dual metropolis of Lysychansk meant any civilians nonetheless in Severodonetsk have been trapped, and it was unattainable to ship humanitarian provides.
Russia’s RIA information company quoted a pro-Moscow separatist spokesperson Eduard Basurin as saying Ukrainian troops have been successfully lower off in Severodonetsk and may give up or die.
Russian artillery additionally pounded the Azot chemical plant, the place, in keeping with Haidai, a whole lot of civilians have been sheltering.
Damien Magrou, spokesperson for the Worldwide Legion for the Defence of Ukraine that has had forces in Severodonetsk, mentioned the scenario risked changing into like Mariupol, “with a big pocket of Ukrainian defenders lower off from the remainder of the Ukrainian troops”.
Through the fall of Mariupol final month, a whole lot of civilians and badly wounded Ukrainian troopers have been trapped for weeks within the Azovstal steelworks.
Charles Stratford, reporting from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, mentioned the scenario in Severodonetsk was “very worrying”, with some 10,000 civilians reported to stay, and 500 civilians – together with about 40 kids – sheltering within the Azot plant.
“And naturally it has large implications militarily for the Ukrainian military as effectively. We perceive that there might be hundreds of Ukrainian troopers inside Severodonetsk,” he mentioned.
“If that third and ultimate bridge has been fully destroyed, it has implications for them getting navy provides into these Ukrainian forces and an escape route out.”
Ukraine has issued more and more pressing requires extra Western heavy weapons to assist defend Severodonetsk, which Kyiv says might maintain the important thing to the battle for the japanese Donbas area and the course of the conflict, now in its fourth month.
Late on Monday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned the battle for the japanese Donbas would go down as one of the crucial brutal in European historical past. The area, comprising the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk, is claimed by Russian separatists.
“For us, the worth of this battle could be very excessive. It’s simply scary,” he mentioned.
“We draw the eye of our companions day by day to the truth that solely a ample variety of trendy artillery for Ukraine will guarantee our benefit,” he added.
“We simply want sufficient weapons to make sure all of this. Our companions have them,” Zelenskyy mentioned.
Ukraine wants 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks and 1,000 drones, amongst different heavy weapons, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak mentioned on Monday.
Russia has denied focusing on civilians in what it calls a “particular operation” to revive Russian safety and “denazify” its neighbour.
Ukraine and its Western allies name this a baseless pretext for an invasion which has killed hundreds of civilians and raised fears of wider battle in Europe.
After failing to take Kyiv following the February 24 invasion, Moscow targeted on increasing management within the Donbas, the place pro-Russian separatists have held territory since 2014. Russia has additionally tried to seize extra of Ukraine’s Black Coastline.
Russia’s principal aim is to guard Donetsk and Luhansk, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned on Monday, after the chief of one of many separatist areas requested for extra forces from Moscow.
Moscow issued the newest of a number of current stories saying it had destroyed US and European arms and gear.
Russia’s defence ministry mentioned high-precision air-based missiles had struck close to the railway station in Udachne northwest of Donetsk, hitting gear that had been delivered to Ukrainian forces.
Ukraine’s inside ministry on Telegram mentioned Udachne had been hit by a Russian strike in a single day on Sunday into Monday, with out mentioning whether or not weapons had been focused.
Moscow has criticised the US and different nations for sending Ukraine weapons and has threatened to strike new targets if the West equipped long-range missiles.