Russia Cuts All Bridges Into Key Ukraine City

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(Newser)

Russian troops control about 80% of the fiercely contested eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk and have destroyed all three bridges leading out of it but Ukrainian authorities are still trying to evacuate the wounded, a regional official said Tuesday. Serhiy Haidai, governor of the eastern Luhansk region, acknowledged that a mass evacuation of civilians from Sievierodonetsk now is “simply not possible” due to the relentless shelling and fighting, the AP reports. Ukrainian forces have been pushed 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 an opportunity for the evacuation of the wounded, communication with the Ukrainian military and local residents,” he told the AP by telephone, adding that Russian forces have not yet completely blocked off the strategic city. About 12,000 people remain in Sievierodonetsk, from a pre-war population of 100,000. More than 500 civilians are sheltering in the city’s Azot chemical plant, which is being relentlessly pounded by the Russians, according to Haidai. In all, 70 civilians were evacuated from the Luhansk region in the last day, the governor said.


A Russian general, meanwhile, said a humanitarian corridor will be opened Wednesday to evacuate civilians from the Azot plant. Col-Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, who is accused of human rights violations during the seige of Mariupol, said evacuees would be taken to the town of Svatovo, 35 miles to the north, in territory under the control of Russian and separatist forces. Russian forces in the past few weeks have pressed hard to capture Ukraine’s eastern industrial Donbas area, which is made up of the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. “The situation is difficult,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a news conference Tuesday with Danish media. “Our task is to fight back.” (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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