Oleksandr Striuk, the head of the civil military administration in Ukraine’s embattled industrial city of Severodonetsk, said Saturday that Ukrainian forces were in a “tough defensive position” as fighting raged on the city’s outskirts.
In a comment on national television, Striuk said some of the most intense fighting was centered around the Mir Hotel on the outskirts of town.
“A real battle can be heard in the area of the main bus station,” he said. “Our military is in a difficult defensive position. The city is constantly being shelled. The Humanitarian Headquarters, which is located in the city, has been practically immobilized today because it is not safe to move around the city, and the work of the Headquarters has been suspended.”
Striuk described a dire situation, saying there was no cellphone communication and the electricity was cut off. His comments come just hours after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his late night address on Saturday that the time until Ukraine’s liberation is “getting shorter every day” and that it is “only a matter of time” before Ukraine recapture the Russian achievements.
“We supplied the city with water using electricity and pumping stations,” he said. “The water available comes from open wells with generators. There are about six or seven fountains in the city. It’s extremely dangerous, as soon as people gather to fetch water, that’s where the shelling starts.”
However, Striuk expressed some confidence that the city would be able to hold out with some limited supplies delivered by road.
There are still ways to reach the city,” he said. “There are opportunities for the delivery of minimum loads. This is extremely difficult, but still possible.
“The evacuation is very unsafe, few people, mostly wounded. In the city there is only a first medical care.”
In a statement, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed that Russian forces suffered casualties and retreated to some previously occupied positions in the Severodonetsk direction, but added that the Russians are continuing to conduct reconnaissance of the area to identify and hit elements of the Ukrainian armed forces.
Fedir Venislavskyi, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, said the next few days would be “crucial” in the battle for Severodonetsk.
“Our forces pushed the enemy back to the positions they previously held,” he said. “But we have to understand that the Russian troops are practically on the outskirts of Severodonetsk.”
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