The risk of ‘second Azovstal’ reappears in Severodonetsk

After 100 more days of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Moscow controls about 90% of Lugansk. According to the assessment of the British Ministry of Defense, the Russian military is capable of “complete control of this area in the next two weeks”.

To achieve that goal, Moscow is focusing on attacking Severodonetsk – the largest city in Lugansk. This area has been shelled by Russian artillery for weeks.

The risk of 'second Azovstal' reappears in Severodonetsk - 1

Many Ukrainian soldiers are sheltering in Severodonetsk’s Azot factory. (Image: Getty Images)

Fierce fighting has forced 800 people, including civilians and Ukrainian soldiers, to take shelter in bomb shelters at Severodonetsk’s Azot factory.

Faced with that situation, Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik of the Golos party warned: “There are fears that the second Azovstal will appear in Severodonetsk. About 800 people are hiding in Soviet-era bunkers under the Azot chemical plant in this city“.

On June 1, Lugansk Governor Sergiy Haidai confirmed that there were still many locals inside the Azot factory, including children.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian officials said Russia controlled 80% of Severodonetsk. However, Mr Haidai insisted that Ukrainian forces there were still “fighting fiercely”.

On June 4, Ukraine updated the military situation. Accordingly, they said they had repelled the Russian advance in Severodonetsk, and regained control of half of the city. According to Governor Haidai, the Russian side must receive “heavy losses” in the counterattack of Ukraine.

Russia has not yet commented on these reports.

The fighting situation in Severodonetsk is reminiscent of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol: About 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers have entrenched here and resisted Russian attacks for weeks. It was also once a shelter for hundreds of Mariupol civilians.

Kiev ordered the troops in Azovstal to stop fighting in mid-May because the situation inside the factory was too critical. Wounded soldiers did not receive medical care while food and weapons ran out. Ukraine’s decision to surrender in Azovstal gave Russia full control of Mariupol.

However, the Azot factory is smaller than Azovstal and has no tunnels. This place also contains a variety of chemicals that are explosive and potentially toxic if hit by artillery shells.

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