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Ukraine and Russia are locked in an intense street-by-street fight for territory in the strategic city of Severodonetsk and surrounding areas, with Ukraine’s forces saying they have clawed back ground under a barrage of artillery attacks in recent days.

“With the support of artillery, the Russian army continues storming operations in Severodonetsk,” said Serhiy Haidai, governor of the Luhansk region. “It controls the eastern part of the city.”

But Ukrainian forces are pushing back, he said early Sunday. “In the past 24 hours, five enemy attacks have been repulsed, and three tanks, four artillery systems, 11 armored combat vehicles and 26 vehicles have been destroyed,” he said, adding that a combat helicopter and two drones were shot down.

On Saturday, Haidai said in a television interview that Ukrainian forces now control about half of the city. Russia’s military had captured up to 70 percent of it last week.

He also downplayed an earlier assessment by British defense officials that the entire Luhansk region could fall into Russian hands in the next two weeks, saying Ukrainian troops have enough reinforcements to defend their positions and launch more attacks. Severodonetsk is one of the last cities standing in the way of Russia controlling the region.

Fighting has escalated over the past three days, Oleksandr Stryuk, the head of the city’s military administration, said Saturday in an interview in Ukrainian media. About half of the residential areas have been taken over by invading forces, Stryuk said, but he offered an optimistic assessment.

“The situation is tense, but there is hope and we are sure that everything will work out,” he said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said in a Telegram post that Ukrainian forces are suffering “critical losses” in the fight for Severodonetsk and are retreating. Neither side’s claims could be independently verified. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said recently that Ukraine is losing up to 100 soldiers daily in the conflict.

Analysts from the Institute for the Study of War said Ukraine appears to be having some success slowing Russia’s advance, and its defenses “remain strong,” but its troops are likely “more degraded” than Haidai’s statements imply.

Zachary Nelson contributed to this report.