“Our forces now control only the outskirts of the city. But the fighting is still going on. Our forces are defending Severodonetsk. It cannot be said that the Russians have complete control of the city.”Mr. Haidai said.
Earlier, the governor of Lugansk also acknowledged that it is likely that Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw to strengthen their positions in Severodonetsk, although he stressed that the troops will fight for every inch of the territory.
“Ukraine has no plans to surrender,” he said in an interview with the TV channel 1+1and assesses that Russia will focus all efforts and conduct a major offensive campaign to control Severodonetsk.
Meanwhile, the head of the Severodonetsk military government said the situation here “remains extremely difficult”.
The war between Russia and Ukraine for control of Severodonetsk escalated last week. Severodonetsk and the neighboring town of Lyssychansk are the last Ukrainian strongholds in the Lugansk region. Russia claims to have control of 97% of the region.
Severodonetsk and Lyssychansk are strategically important because this region of the Donbass connects with other regions of Ukraine. The highway connecting Lysychansk with Bakhmut is a logistics route for Ukraine. Control of Severodonetsk and Lyssychansk would give the Russian military access to the administrative borders of these regions.
From here, the Russian army could advance westward in the direction of Kramatorsk, another administrative center of the Donbass. Kramatorsk was one of the last major industrial cities still under Ukrainian control in the Donbass.
In a statement issued on June 8, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also affirmed that the fighting in Severodonetsk could determine the outcome of the war in the east of the country.
“This is a very fierce and difficult battle. Probably one of the hardest battles since the conflict broke out. I am grateful to the people who protect this city. In many ways, the fate of Donbass is being decided here.” Zelensky said, asserting that the Ukrainian army is causing great damage to the enemy.
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