All bridges to Ukraine‘s embattled eastern frontline city of Sievierodonetsk have been destroyed as fierce fighting continued in the region.
Governor Serhiy Gaidai wrote on the Telegram app that Russia had not taken full control of the city, and that “a part” of it remained under Ukrainian control.
He added that “some access” to the city remained despite the bridges being destroyed, but that Russian forces now presided over 70% of the city.
Meanwhile, Finnish president Sauli Niinisto said Russia has been using “weapons of mass destruction” in its war against Ukraine.
Speaking yesterday, the Finnish leader said both sides in the war in Ukraine were using heavier weapons, including in Russia’s case thermobaric bombs.
“We are supporting Ukraine with increasingly heavy weaponry. And on the other hand Russia has also begun to use very powerful weapons, thermobaric bombs that are in fact weapons of mass destruction,” Mr Niinisto said during security policy talks.
It comes as Amnesty International accused Russia of repeatedly using illegal cluster bombs and unguided missiles in “shocking” attacks on Ukrainians.
Defence ministers from Nato and Ukraine will meet in Brussels this week to discuss weapons supplies to Kyiv at the most critical time in the war since the earliest days of Russia’s invasion.
Vladimir Putin’s expectation of a blitzkrieg which would lead to the capture of the capital, Kyiv and the country’s second city, Kharkiv – and allow him to impose regime change – have been thwarted.
But the euphoria over Ukrainian resilience and resistance, and Russian retreat, has been replaced by deep trepidation over the unfolding course of the conflict in the Donbas.
There, Ukrainian forces have been heavily outgunned by those of the Kremlin – who can fire from a far greater range – while also running out of ammunition. The relentless salvos have claimed a lethal cost, with up to 100 soldiers being killed every day and 300 injured.
The Russians are also taking heavy losses, but they are also making gains, slowly, but of strategic value.
In the east they have taken most of the city of Sievierodonetsk and are continuing fierce attacks on Lysychansk. The capture of the two places would give Russian forces control of the whole of the Luhansk region and a route into the rest of the Donbas.
If Sievierodonetsk does get cut off and surrounded, and there is a large scale surrender of Ukrainian troops, as happened in Mariupol, there are likely to be hard questions asked.
A number of senior military and political officials have been asking Volodymyr Zelensky’s government for a strategic withdrawal from Sievierodonetsk.
© The Independent