Russia on Tuesday reported its forces had taken full control of residential neighbourhoods in Ukraine’s flashpoint city of Severodonetsk, after Kyiv said its troops were fighting on in the eastern hub despite being outnumbered.
“The residential areas of the city of Severodonetsk have been fully liberated,” Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told a Defence Ministry meeting. The Russian Army was still seeking to establish control over the city’s “industrial zone and the nearest settlements”, he added, amid conflicting reports of who is in control of what.
Moscow has been pushing for control of the strategic industrial hub as part of its bid to conquer a vast swathe of eastern Ukraine but Kyiv’s forces have so far managed to hold out. “Our heroes are holding their positions in Severodonetsk. Fierce street fights continue in the city,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address late Monday.
Mr. Zelensky warned Ukrainian forces in the key city were outnumbered and the Russians “are stronger”. He was speaking to journalists after visiting frontline positions in Lysychansk, across the river from Severodonetsk.
Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes since President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine on February 24. Russia has concentrated its assault on the eastern Donbas region and had been making slow but steady progress.
Meanwhile, the leader of Ukraine’s pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, on Tuesday confirmed the death of another Russian general in the fighting. Mr. Pushilin expressed on Telegram his “sincere condolences to the family and friends” of Major General Roman Kutuzov, “who showed by example how to serve the fatherland”.