The battle for the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk is being waged street by street

“Our heroes are not abandoning their positions in Severodonetsk,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a late night speech on Monday. “Heavy street fighting continues in the city,” he said. It was unclear which side had the upper hand because “the situation was changing from hour to hour,” Severodonetsk administration chief Oleksandr Stryuk told TV.

Ukrainian and Russian troops were fighting street by street for control of the industrial city of Severodonetsk on Monday. in a crucial battle of the Kremlin offensive in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

It was unclear which side had the upper hand as ‘the situation was changing from hour to hour’ Oleksandr Stryuk, head of administration of Severodonetsk, said on television.

The city has become the main objective of the Russian offensive in the Donbass -which includes the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk-, while the The Kremlin is advancing in a war of attrition that has seen cities leveled by artillery barrages.

“Our heroes do not abandon positions in Severodonetsk”, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday in a late-night video address. “Fierce street fighting continues in the city.”

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry says Russia is sending troops and equipment to capture the largest city remaining in Ukrainian hands at Luhansk.

Huge losses on both sides

Provincial Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Monday that the situation had worsened after the Ukrainian defenders pushed back the Russians over the weekend where they looked close to victory.

Stryuk said the street fighting was intense and neither side was preparing to withdraw. Both sides claim to have inflicted heavy losses on each other.

In its overnight update, the Ukrainian military said that two civilians were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions Monday and that Russian forces had fired on more than 20 communities.

Reuters was unable to independently verify reports from the battlefield. Russia denies targeting civilians in the conflict.

Russia says is on a mission to “liberate” Donbass – partly in the hands of pro-Russian separatists since 2014 – after Ukrainian forces pushed their troops back from the capital, Kyiv, and Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkov, at the start of the war.

Zelensky tried to wake up his troops on Sunday with a visit to two towns near the front lines.

“What you all deserve is victory, that’s the most important thing. But not at any price” Zelensky said in a video.

The Ukrainian president said he visited Lisychansk, south of Severodonetsk, and Soledar, rare outings for him outside Kyiv since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

Russia describes its action in Ukraine as a “special military operation” to end what it sees as threats to its security. Ukraine and its Western allies call it nonsense and say Russia’s war is an unprovoked war for seize territory that risks escalating into a wider European conflict.

Source: Latercera

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