The mayor of the embattled eastern city of Severodonetsk said Thursday that the humanitarian situation in the city is worsening, with fierce fighting and no electricity or water services and little food.
“For now, evacuation is impossible,” Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said in a television interview, describing how the main bridge out of the city to nearby Lysychansk was being shelled and infrastructure destroyed.
“The humanitarian situation in the city is almost critical, insofar as there has been no electricity, water or gas for a month and a half,” he said, adding that food supplies were also at a “minimum.”
Stryuk said that “around 10,000 residents remain in the city; they are in hiding.”
Ukrainian forces still control around a third of the city, he added, which Russia has been bombarding for weeks as a focal point of its eastern offensive. “The line of defense has been built and is holding on. The night was rather difficult, under strong artillery fire. … Unfortunately, the situation is rather difficult, but under control,” Stryuk added.
On Wednesday, Serhiy Haidai, governor of the surrounding Luhansk region, said that Russia was not in full control of the city, and that fighting continued, but he acknowledged the possibility of a tactical pullback by Ukrainian forces.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the fight for the city as “probably one of the most difficult throughout this war,” adding that the battle for control of the Donbas region was “being decided” there.
Earlier this week, Russia claimed to control 97 percent of Luhansk.
Amar Nadhir contributed to this report.