Russia batters key city in eastern Ukraine, controls at least half

Russia batters key city in eastern Ukraine, controls at least half

The fighting in Ukraine is tightly focused on a small section of the Luhansk region in the east, with Russian forces pushing closer to the center of Severodonetsk.

“Over half of the town is likely now occupied by Russian forces, including Chechen fighters,” the British Ministry of Defense tweeted Wednesday.

Serhiy Hayday, the head of the Luhansk region military administration for Ukraine, confirmed to CNN that Russian troops now control most of the city but said his troops won’t be surrounded.

“We are constantly communicating,” he said. “There is an opportunity to maneuver, so the military is now calmly holding the defense in the positions they occupy now. The city at this stage has 90% of all houses damaged. Of these, 60% are almost impossible to restore. And all the critical infrastructure is completely destroyed.”

If the Russians take Severodonetsk, then nearby Lysychansk will be the only Luhansk city of significant size to remain under Ukrainian control.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is focusing on the eastern Donbas region after embarrassing losses near Kyiv, the capital, earlier in the invasion that began on Feb. 24.

However, British officials said that beyond the Donbas, Russia “continues to conduct long-range missile strikes against infrastructure across Ukraine.”