Monday morning, after progress was made, the region’s governor announced the “situation deteriorating” for Ukrainian forces in Severodonetsk, a major city in the east of the country and the center of fierce battles with Russian forces.
“The fighting is very fierce in Sievierodonetsk. Our defenders managed to launch a counterattack and liberate half of the city, but the situation for us got worse,” said Sergei Gaudai, governor of the Lugansk region, on Ukrainian 1 + 1 TV without further details.
According to him, the bombing intensified on Severodonetsk and Lesichansk, a neighboring town located on the “highlands” and strategically “to maintain the line of defense”.
The Russians, he said, “are destroying everything with their usual scorched-earth tactic” until “there is nothing left to defend”.
This industrial center is the largest settlement still in Ukrainian hands in the Luhansk region, where Russian soldiers have been advancing in recent weeks after withdrawing or being expelled from other parts of Ukraine, including the areas around the capital, Kyiv.
After initially repulsing the Russian attack on Sievierodonetsk, the Ukrainians gradually regained the land there.
For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed, on Saturday, that the Ukrainian forces were withdrawing towards Lysichansk “after incurring huge losses in the fighting for Severodonetsk (up to 90% in several units)”.
The Russian army has been trying to occupy all of Donbass, the nickname given to the Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in part in the hands of pro-Russian separatists since 2014.