Russian forces have captured about a third of Severodonetsk, but the attack on the eastern Ukrainian city is taking longer than hoped. Leonid Paschnik, the leader of the renegade Ukrainian region of Luhansk, told the Russian state news agency TASS.
“We can already say that we have a third of Severodonetsk under control,” Paschnik said. “But first and foremost we want to preserve the infrastructure of the city.”
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the battle for the city has entered the decisive phase. But the Russian attacks have so far proved unsuccessful, Kyiv said. An attempt to conquer the town of Bachmoet and thereby cut off Severodonetsk completely from the outside world has so far failed. An attack on the village of Dovhenke is said to have been repulsed and Russian troops have withdrawn from the town of Liman.
Russian shelling has devastated much of Severodonetsk and troops have entered the city from the southeast and northeast, but the Russian campaign in the Donbas region has been delayed by Ukrainian defences. According to state news agency TASS, the advance of Russian troops was hampered by the presence of several chemical plants in the area.
Russian troops finally managed to enter Severodonetsk on Monday after the city had been surrounded and fired on for several weeks. It is the only major city in the Luhansk region that is not yet in the hands of the Russians.
According to Kyiv, it is significantly calmer in other sectors of the front. Only in the vicinity of Slovyansk are fighting sporadically.