Weeks after the Russians encircled it, the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk fell to the Russians. It is the last city in the Luhansk region to resist the Russian advance in the east of the country. Other great places have already given up.
Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said on Saturday that Severodonetsk was “entirely in the hands of Russia”. According to him, the residents of the city could not flee to the Ukrainian lands. They can only leave the city to travel to the territories occupied by Russia.
The Ukrainian withdrawal from Severodonetsk was in the air for some time. On Friday, the district’s governor, Serhi Gedayi, said there was no longer any point in holding out. “It makes no sense to stick to the positions that were taken but were dropped just to stay there (in Severodonetsk, ed.).”
The American Institute for the Study of War also noted this week that the Russians had made “significant progress” at the Battle of Severodonetsk and the surrounding areas. The city has been bombed almost continuously by the Russians over the past four months.
Earlier this month, the renegade Luhansk region’s leader, Leonid Pashnik, reported that Russian soldiers had captured parts of the city. He said the attack lasted longer than expected.
On June 2, Russian forces penetrated further. According to the British Ministry of Defense, this was accompanied by an “intense concentration of artillery”. The British Ministry of Defense said at the time that the main road to the city was likely under the control of Ukraine in the morning.
The British also said that crossing a river south of Severodonetsk was of “vital” importance for Russian forces if they were to capture Luhansk and shift their operations to the Donetsk region. It is not known whether the Ukrainian army still controlled this river.
The withdrawal is a psychological blow, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly said that the fate of the Donetsk region will be determined by the Battle of Severodonetsk.
The population fled the infrastructure was to be destroyed
Severodonetsk was the only major city in the Luhansk region that was not yet completely in the hands of Russia. The city was almost besieged for some time and came under heavy bombardment. According to Zelensky, Russia destroyed all the basic infrastructure in Severodonetsk.
The governor of the Luhansk region said earlier this week that Severodonetsk is not fully encircled. The governor said the Russian bombing would make it impossible to evacuate people or get humanitarian aid into the city.
Before the war, about 100,000 people lived there, but now their number will be only about 12,000. According to Ukrainian information, the number of dead before captivity reached about 1,500.
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