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“The enemy managed to enter Severodonetsk from two directions… and controls a strip of about 100 meters,” Roman Vlasenko, the head of the Severodonetsk district administration, told Radio Liberty. “Our guys are continuing to defend.” For the past several days, Ukrainian fighters had contained the Russians around a hotel on the eastern outskirts.

Russia is attempting to gain control of Donbas, which includes the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Severodonetsk is the largest city still holding out, and a Russian takeover there would be a major symbolic victory. About 100,000 people lived in the city before the war, but only about a tenth remain.

Russian shelling killed two people and wounded five others as they were preparing food outside Sunday in the old part of Severodonetsk, Haidai said. At least 12 buildings were hit there. He said the city’s critical infrastructure has been almost totally destroyed and 90 percent of the housing stock damaged.

“Over the past 24 hours, 14 enemy attacks have been repulsed, two artillery systems, 11 units of armored combat vehicles and 10 enemy vehicles have been destroyed. Air defense units shot down two cruise missiles and three Cube UAV,” Haidai said.

The neighboring city of Lysychansk, on the other side of the Siversky Donets River, is still in Ukrainian hands, according to Haidai, and main roads into both cities are still open but subject to Russian shelling. Humanitarian supplies are reaching the cities, he said. The highway from Bakhmut, further to the southwest, which is vital for resupplying Severodonetsk, remains under control of the Ukrainian military, said Vlasenko, but is very dangerous due to continual Russian shelling.