KYIV — Kyiv said on Saturday it was pushing back Russian troops in Sievierodonetsk as intense fighting raged around the industrial city, the focus of a Russian offensive to take the eastern Donbas region.
Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province, said Russian forces had suffered severe defeats and were blowing up bridges across the Siverskyi Donets river to prevent Ukraine bringing in military reinforcements and delivering aid to civilians in Sievierodonetsk.
“Right now, our soldiers have pushed them back, they (the Russians) are suffering huge casualties,” Gaidai said in a live TV broadcast on Saturday.
“The Russian army, as we understand, is throwing all its efforts, all its reserves in that (Sievierodonetsk) direction,” he said. “Russians are blowing up bridges, so we could not bring in reinforcements to our boys in Sievierodonetsk.”
The governor said Ukrainian forces had recaptured around one-fifth of the territory they had lost in the city.
Both sides have suffered punishing losses in street-by-street battles for the Soviet-era factory city, where roads have been riddled with craters and destroyed vehicles.
If Sievierodonetsk falls, neighboring Lysychansk would be the last city that Russia needs to capture to have full control of Luhansk province, which along with Donetsk province makes up the Donbas.
The area has become the focus of Russia’s invasion as President Vladimir Putin seeks to rebuild momentum after a failed attempt to take the capital Kyiv.
Ukraine’s military said on…
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