Russians dominate 80% of major Ukrainian cities and reduce escape routes: Ukrainian official


Ukrainian Lviv — Russian troops ruled about 80% of the fiercely contested eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, destroying all three bridges that followed, but Ukrainians still tried to evacuate the injured. There was, a local official said on Tuesday.

Serhiy Haidai, governor of the eastern region of Luhansk, admitted that mass evacuation of civilians from Sieviero Donetsk was “simply impossible” due to relentless artillery and combat. Ukrainian troops were pushed to the industrial suburbs of the city because of “scorched earth operations and heavy artillery used by the Russians,” he said.

“We still have the opportunity to evacuate the injured and contact the Ukrainian army and locals,” he told the Associated Press on the phone, adding that Russian soldiers have not yet completely blocked the strategic city.

Of the 100,000 prewar population, about 12,000 remain in Severodonetsk. According to Haidai, more than 500 civilians have been evacuated to the Azoth chemical plant, which has been smashed by Russians.

A total of 70 civilians fled the Luhansk region on the final day, according to the governor.

Meanwhile, a Russian general said a humanitarian corridor would open on Wednesday to evacuate civilians from the Azoth factory. Colonel Mikhail Mizintsev said the refugees would be taken to the town of Subatbo, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the territory under the control of Russian troops and separatists.

He said the plan was made after requesting an evacuation corridor leading to Ukraine-controlled territory.

Mizintsev, head of the National Defense Management Center, has been accused of human rights violations by Ukraine while commanding troops during a long siege of Mariupol, Ukraine’s main port in the Sea of ​​Azov, which was hijacked by Russians. increase.

In the past few weeks, Russian troops have urged Russia to occupy the eastern industrial Donbas region of Ukraine, which borders Russia and consists of the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

“Unfortunately, the loss is painful, but we have to put up with it,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video speech Tuesday night. “The more losses an enemy suffers there, the less force it takes to continue the attack. Therefore, Donbus is the key to deciding who will dominate in the coming weeks.”

Almost every day, Zelensky sought more and faster delivery of Western weapons, this time especially for missile defense systems.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on Tuesday that the military received only about 10 percent of the western weapons it demanded “to establish equivalence with the Russian army.”

“No matter how hard Ukraine tries or how professional the army is, it will not be possible to win this war without the help of its Western partners,” Mariard said at a television press conference.

She said Ukraine uses 5,000 to 6,000 shells a day, while Russia uses more than 10 times.

Recently, Ukrainian officials talked about the enormous human costs of the war. The fierce battles in the east resulted in more artillery battles, with Kyiv’s army defeated.

Malyar said daily delays meant losing the lives of more Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. “So, unfortunately, the situation is so difficult that we can’t wait too long,” she added.

In the fourth month of the conflict, the Battle of Donbas could determine the course of the war.

If Russia wins, Ukraine will lose not only the land, but perhaps most of its most capable army, paving the way for Moscow to acquire more territory and direct the conditions to Kyiv.

But Russia’s failure could lay the groundwork for Ukraine’s counterattack and could also be the Kremlin’s political turmoil.

Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the aid organizations that feeds civilians in Donbus, said the fighting in recent weeks has made regular food rations impossible. Now, he said, the rest of the civilians in Sieviero Donetsk were “almost completely cut off from relief supplies after the last bridge was destroyed.”

In northeastern Kharkiv, Russian troops are trying to strengthen their position, and Ukrainian troops are also suffering painful losses, Zelensky said. “And to fight hard for the complete security of Kharkiv and the region, we still need to fight,” he said.

Russian troops have made small progress in the Kharkiv region for the first time in a few weeks, according to a Tuesday update by the British Ministry of Defense.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian local military officials said the country’s air defenses shot down two Russian cruise missiles targeting the area around Odesa, Ukraine’s main port on the Black Sea.

Yuras Karmanau

Associated Press