Kyiv-Ukraine has so far blocked attempts to advance Russia to the north of the Donetsk region, but the city of Slovyansk and other private areas have been heavily bombarded, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday.
After completing the seizure of the adjacent Luhansk region on Sunday and occupying the now abandoned Lysychans’k, Russia is increasing its attention to its southern part and Donetsk, which is already dominated by its agents.
Moscow states that the complete expulsion of Ukrainian troops from both regions is central to what is called a “special military operation” to ensure the security of their country.
Donetsk and Luhansk make up the industrialized eastern part of Ukraine, Donbas, and Russia is trying to take control on behalf of Moscow-backed separatists in two self-proclaimed People’s Republics.
Ukrainian officials said fierce fighting was taking place as Russian troops tried to push from Luhansk to the Donetsk region and towards the city of Slovyansk.
“We are holding back our enemies at the border between the Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian television.
He said Russian regular and reserve forces were dispatched there with obvious efforts to cross the Siverskyi Donets, and two small settlements just inside the Luhansk border were the scene of a fierce battle.
“The Luhansk region is still fighting. Almost all territories have been occupied, but two settlements are in the process of fighting,” he told a video briefing.
Guydai and other Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were attacking targets in the Donetsk region with artillery.
Slovyansk Mayor VadymLyakh said in a video briefing Wednesday that the city had been bombarded over the last two weeks.
“The situation is tense,” he said, the day after local officials said Russian troops struck markets and residential areas in Slovyansk, killing at least two people.
Russia states that it does not target civilians.
Since President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to join Ukraine on February 24, 17 inhabitants have died and 67 have been injured, Lyakh said. Leave for the bombardment.
The port city in the south of Mykolaiv was also heavily bombarded, its mayor, Oleksandr Senkevic, told the briefing. He said the Russian army was using a multiple launch rocket system to bombard a city that shed about half of its prewar population of 500,000.
“There is no safe area in Mykolaiv,” he said. “I’m telling the people of the city that they need to leave.”
Governor Guydai of Luhansk said Russian troops were plundering Lysychans’k and its twin city, Sievierodonetsk.
“Everything is destroyed.”
Reuters could not confirm this report immediately.
By Pavel Polityuk and Max Hunder