Withdrawal ordered: Ukraine gives up Sieverodonetsk

order to withdraw
Ukraine gives up Sieverodonetsk

For weeks, Ukrainians and Russians have been wearing each other out in the battle for Sievjerodonetsk. Both sides take turns reporting successes. But now Moscow seems to be winning the battle for the city in the east. Kyiv withdraws its remaining soldiers.

Ukraine has announced a troop withdrawal from the city of Sievjerodonetsk in the east of the country, which has been contested for weeks. The Ukrainian troops must be withdrawn, says the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajday, on television. The city is largely occupied by Russian forces. The city is practically “in ruins” because of the constant bombardment by Russian troops, the governor explained. “There’s just no point in staying in positions that have been under constant fire for months.” The entire strategic infrastructure of the industrial city was destroyed. “90 percent of the city is damaged, 80 percent of the houses will have to be demolished.” The Russian units had recently taken over the city almost completely.

After heavy street fighting, Ukrainian units and hundreds of civilians hid in the Azot chemical plant. The Ukrainian army also fired on the Russian attackers from neighboring Lysychansk. Sievjerodonetsk and Lysychansk are the last major cities in the Luhansk region still under Ukrainian control. Before the start of the Russian offensive, Sievjerodonetsk had around 100,000 inhabitants.

The conquest of Luhansk – as well as that of the Donetsk region – is one of Russia’s main goals in the war against the neighboring country that began four months ago. The Russian advances are likely a result of recent reinforcements and a heavy concentration of shelling, the Ministry of Defense tweeted in London. Despite strong pressure exerted by Russian troops on the Lysychansk-Syeverodonetsk pocket, efforts to achieve a deeper encirclement of the western Donetsk region remain deadlocked, it said.

The neighboring towns Sjewerodonetsk and Lyssychansk are separated by a river. Most of the bridges have been destroyed in the past few days. In addition, Lysychansk is significantly higher than Sievjerodonetsk.

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