Russia has likely taken control of the Donbas city of Sieverodonetsk, the British defense ministry said in an intelligence update on Sunday, noting that most of the Ukrainian forces have apparently withdrawn from their remaining defensive positions in the area.
The ministry noted that the apparent capture of the city comes after Russian forces moved their focus to a more intense offensive on the Donbas region in April.
“Russia’s capture of the city is a significant achievement within this reduced objective,” officials said in a statement on Twitter. “The settlement was a major industrial center and it occupies a strategic position on the Siverskyi Donets River.”
The ministry noted that Russia will need to advance on the major center of Kramatorsk and secure the main supply routes to Donetsk city to occupy the entire Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
Russia has also set its eyes on Lysychansk in Donbas, as it and Sieverodonetsk have been the prime focus in capturing the region. If Russian troops are successful in capturing the two, they would control every major settlement in the province.
The announcement comes alongside Russia’s airstrikes on Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv Sunday morning, with at least two residential buildings reportedly being struck. The capital had not seen Russian strikes since June 5.