Ukraine said Wednesday that the eastern industrial city of Severodonetsk was “hell” as Russian forces moved to encircle two key cities in the Donbas where Moscow has concentrated its military efforts.
“For four months all our positions have been under fire from everything — and I just want to emphasis this — from all the weapons that the Russian army has,” the Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said in a statement on social media.
“It’s just hell out there,” he added, referring to Severodonetsk, which has been heavily shelled for weeks by Russian forces who are trying to gain complete control of the city.
“Our boys are holding their positions and will continue to hold on as long as necessary,” he added.
Russian forces in recent days have made territorial gains south of Severodonetsk and moved closer to its sister city of Lysychansk separated by the river Donets.
Gaiday said Russian forces were “trying to encircle the city” of Lysychansk but that Ukrainian forces still controlled the city.
“Lysychansk is being heavily shelled with heavy caliber weapons,” he added, describing “colossal destruction.”
Gaiday said that people were steadily being evacuated from Lysychansk and that “we are slowly taking people out.”
In Severodonetsk however, hundreds of civilians seeking refuge in the Azot chemical plant were unable to leave due to the scale of the fighting, he said.
“Evacuation is possible if there is an agreement at the highest level, if there will be a ceasefire and a clearly defined route,” Gaiday said.