2022 – The Russians advance to the largest city in Donbass and are still in the hands of the Ukrainians | Ukraine

Witnesses and officials said Russian tanks and troops began moving towards Severodonetsk, the largest city in Donbass still under Ukraine’s control.

“Unfortunately we have disappointing news: the enemy is entering the city,” Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region, told Ukrainian state television on Monday.

Witnesses said Russian tanks were advancing toward the city center in one explosion after another, destroying whatever remained in their path, after intense bombardment that Ukrainian authorities said led to conditions on the ground that recalled Mariupol.

Local authorities estimate that 1,500 civilians have already died in the Russian attacks on Severodonetsk, in part due to a lack of medicine, but the ongoing bombing has left the death toll uncountable.

“Your presence [the Russian army] Using the same tactics over and over again.” “They shoot for hours at a time—three, four, five—and then attack. Whoever attacks dies. Then comes the bombing, the attack again, and so on, until they break through somewhere.”

Witnesses said the city was bombed “200 times an hour” as Russian forces tried to break through lines of reinforcement and encircle the remaining defenders.

The Battle of Sievierodonetsk, located on the east bank of the Siverskyi Donets 145 kilometers (90 miles) south of the Russian border, is in the spotlight as Russia eliminates slow but strong gains in the industrial Donbass, which includes the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

After Russia failed to capture the country’s capital, Kyiv, early in the war, Russia is trying to tighten its grip on the Donbass River, much of which is already controlled by Moscow-backed separatists. Unlike the previous phase of the conflict, when its forces were often poorly distributed, it concentrated huge firepower in a small area, launching artillery fire and air raids on cities.

“They don’t care how many lives they have to pay for it,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his recent patriotic address, referring to Russian forces in the region.

Russia has also intensified its efforts to take control of the neighboring town of Lysichansk, where a Russian shell landed on an apartment building over the weekend, according to Gaidai, killing a child.

Lysichansk remains under Ukrainian control, according to Ukrainian officials, while the main road to the two cities has been bombed but not cut off.

“The liberation of Donetsk and Luhansk states, which are recognized by the Russian Federation as independent states, is an unconditional priority,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told French television on Sunday, adding that other Ukrainian regions should decide their future.