Russian troops control about 80% of the hotly contested eastern city of Sievierodonetsk and have destroyed all three bridges leading from it, but the Ukrainians are still trying to evacuate the wounded, a regional official said on Tuesday.
Serhiy Haidai, governor of the eastern Lugansk region, acknowledged that a mass evacuation of civilians from Sievierodonetsk was now “simply not possible” due to the incessant shelling and fighting. Ukrainian forces were pushed back to the industrial outskirts of the city because of “the scorched earth method and heavy artillery the Russians are using”, he said.
“There is still a possibility of evacuation of the wounded, communication with the Ukrainian army and local residents,” he told The Associated Press by telephone, adding that Russian soldiers had not yet completely blocked the strategic city.
About 12,000 people remain in Sievierodonetsk, out of a pre-war population of 100,000. More than 500 civilians take refuge in the Azot chemical plant, which is shelled by the Russians, according to Haidai. A total of 70 civilians were evacuated from the Luhansk region over the past day, the governor said.