Ukraine said on Monday that its forces have been pushed back from the centre of the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, where fighting with Russia has raged for weeks.
“The enemy, with support of artillery, carried out assault operations in the city of Sievierodonetsk, had partial success, pushed our units away from the city centre,” the Ukrainian military said on Facebook.
The local governor, Sergiy Gaiday, said “the Russians were partially successful at night” in the city. They “pushed our troops from the centre and continue to destroy our city,” he said on Facebook.
According to Gaiday, the Russians control “more than 70 percent” of the city. Gaiday said the Azot chemical plant – where 500 civilians, including 40 children are taking shelter – is being “heavily shelled” by Russian forces.
“We are trying to negotiate a humanitarian corridor” for the civilians, Gaiday said in a separate video on Telegram. He added that the efforts had “for now no success.”
Gaiday earlier said Moscow’s forces were “gathering more and more equipment” to “encircle” Sievierodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk. He said that three civilians were killed by shelling in Lysychansk, across a river from Sievierodonetsk, in the last 24 hours, including a six-year-old boy.
The governor said Ukrainian security services had exposed 50 “traitors” in Lysychansk, who he said were sending information to Russian forces. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late on Sunday that Ukrainian and Russian forces were fighting for “literally every meter” in Sievierodonetsk.