Mariupol drama repeats itself in Severodonetsk
Besieged for weeks, with continuous attacks and intense fighting for control of a territory. What do you remember? Speaking exclusively of Ukraine, it could be Bucha, Kherson, Zaporizhia, Irpin or Borodianka, among other places. But the keywords are ‘strategic city’ and ‘martyr’, which further simplifies the list down to Mariupol. A port enclave of great symbolic and economic importance whose capture allows Russia to establish a land connection from Donbas to the Crimean peninsula, annexed in 2014. And that is what Severodonetsk has become, the only large settlement in the Lugansk region that still it is not in the hands of Moscow and whose control would further strengthen the connection it seeks in the east of the country.
This new martyr city, where around 800 civilians are refugees in the Azot chemical plant, has suffered “intense fighting” for weeks and the situation changes “every hour”, its mayor, Oleksandr Striuk, warned yesterday, noting that there are still more than 10,000 people who have not been able to be evacuated and whose exit is complicated due to the magnitude of the confrontations. The Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, pointed out that “our heroes hold their positions”, at the same time in which he explained that the “intense street fighting continues” in the town, where the Russian units are “more numerous and more powerful”. However, “we are resisting.” In fact, the adviser to the Ministry of the Interior, Rostislav Smirnov, stated yesterday that his Armed Forces “are planted and do not allow the Russians to advance, who only carry out massive attacks, but we stand firm and are not going to back down.”
Hostilities have intensified in the last stronghold of the Ukrainian forces in Lugansk. Russia already controls about 70% of Severodonetsk, according to the region’s governor, Sergei Gaidai. And Lisichansk, a neighboring city, at 60%. The Russian offensive continued yesterday. During the day, the invaders attacked twenty settlements in Donbas, destroying 48 civilian facilities, including 42 homes, a mining and industrial engineering school, a farm and a family sports club, among other targets. As a result of the bombing, two civilians were killed and twelve others were injured, kyiv said.