Russian forces are trying to cut off the strategic city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine, the Luhansk Governor said on Saturday, after the relentless assault on nearby Sievierodonetsk forced Ukrainian troops to begin withdrawing.
Russia also launched missile attacks on areas far from the heart of the eastern battles.
Serhiy Haidai, Governor of Luhansk province, said on Facebook that Russian and separatist fighters tried to blockade Lysychansk from the south. The city lies next to Sievierodonetsk, which has endured a relentless assault and house-to-house fighting for weeks.
Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a spokesman for the separatist forces, Andrei Marochko, as saying Russian troops and separatist fighters had entered Lysychansk and that fighting was taking place in the heart of the city.
Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk have been the focal point of a Russian offensive aimed at capturing all of eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and destroying the Ukrainian military defending it — the most capable and battle-hardened segment of the country’s armed forces.
Some 1,000 km to the west, four Russian rockets hit a “military object” in Yaroviv, Lviv Governor Maksym Kozytskyy said. He did not give further details of the target, but Yaroviv has a sizable military base used for training fighters, including foreigners who have volunteered to fight for Ukraine.
In the north, about 20 rockets were fired from Belarus into the Chernihiv region, the Ukrainian military said.