KYIV — Ukrainian and Russian troops fought street by street for control of the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk on Monday in a pivotal battle of the Kremlin offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
Which side had the upper hand was unclear, with “the situation changing from hour to hour,” Oleksandr Stryuk, head of administration in Sievierodonetsk, said on television.
The city has become the main target of the Russian offensive in the Donbas – comprising Luhansk and Donetsk provinces – as the Kremlin’s invasion grinds on in a war of attrition that has seen cities laid waste by artillery barrages.
Ukraine’s defense ministry said Russia was throwing troops and equipment into its drive to capture the largest remaining Ukrainian-held city in Luhansk.
The province’s governor Serhiy Gaidai said earlier on Monday the situation had worsened after Ukrainian defenders had pushed back the Russians over the weekend as they seemed close to victory.
President Volodomyr Zelenskiy told a media briefing later in the capital Kyiv that the situation was “difficult in the east.”
He added: “We are in control of the situation, there are more (Russians), they are more powerful, but we have every chance to fight. If there is a (Russian) breakthrough in Donbas, it will be very difficult.”
Stryuk said street fighting was raging and neither side was preparing to withdraw. Both sides say they have inflicted huge casualties on each other.
In its nightly update, the Ukrainian military said two civilians were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on…
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