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The end of Severodonetsk defense? The Ukrainians were ordered to withdraw, said Governor Hajdaj – HNonline.sk

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The Ukrainian defenders will have to withdraw from Severodonetsk and have already received such an order. The eastern Ukrainian city is almost completely destroyed, said the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajdaj, this morning. According to him, the last Russian attack on the adjacent Lysychansk was repulsed, but the fighting continues around the suburbs. “The defenders of Severodonetsk will have to withdraw from the city to new and stronger positions,” Hajdaj said on the Telegram communication platform. “All critical infrastructure has been destroyed, 90 percent of the city has been damaged and 80 percent of residential buildings will have to be demolished,” he added. According to him, Russian forces continue to advance on Lysychansk from the south, from Toškivka and Zoloty, fighting is taking place around the village of Myrna dolyna. At the same time, the Russians are trying to strengthen the front in the villages of Raj-Oleksandrivka and Loskutivka, which they conquered in the previous days. Russian “diversionary reconnaissance units” have already entered Lysychansk, and their attack has been thwarted, Hajdaj added. However, the Russians seized the village of Mykolaiv. Hajdaj did not say when the withdrawal of Ukrainian defenders from the city, which has been experiencing some of the fiercest fighting since the start of the Russian invasion for about a month, should begin, or how long it should take, Reuters reported. The loss of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk would not be a major turning point in the war, the US Institute for War Research (ISW) said in today’s assessment. According to him, the Ukrainians “basically achieved their goal” by slowing down and weakening Russian troops in battle. “Russia’s offensive operations are likely to come to a halt in the coming weeks, whether or not Russian forces seize the Severodonetsk and Lysychansk regions,” the institute said. In its regular morning report, the Ukrainian General Staff announced that the Russians were carrying out tank, mortar and air attacks on Ukrainian positions as they advanced into the suburbs and adjacent villages. The defenders managed to repel the attack on the village of Borivske, which, like Severodonetsk, lies on the eastern bank of the river Severný Donec. In recent days, Russia has made significant territorial gains in Donbas by occupying the tip of the Ukrainian defense around the town of Zolote south of Lysychansk. The breakthrough of the Ukrainian defense at Tashkivka allowed Russian troops to begin encircling Lysychanka, which increased the pressure on the defender of Severodonetsk, whose supply is becoming increasingly difficult. By occupying Severodnipsk and Lysychansk, Russia would be close to meeting one of its declared war goals, which was to gain full control of the Luhansk region, whose territory Moscow recognized as a separate “republic” shortly before the February invasion.

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