The local governor says troops have received the order to leave the city after weeks of fighting against Russian troops.
Defending Ukrainian troops will have to withdraw from the embattled city of Severodonetsk, the governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk region has said, after weeks of fierce fighting against Russian forces in the strategic city.
“Ukrainian armed forces will have to retreat from Severodonetsk. They have received an order to do so,” Serhiy Haidai said on Friday on Telegram.
“Remaining in positions that have been relentlessly shelled for months just doesn’t make sense,” he added.
Haidai did not indicate whether troops would be withdrawn immediately from the city in Luhansk, or over what timeframe the withdrawal would happen.
After failing to take the capital, Kyiv, early in the war, Russian forces have focused on trying to take complete control of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, which together comprise the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. Parts of the Donbas were already held by Russian-backed separatists before Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, ordered his troops to attack neighbouring Ukraine on February 24.
Some of the heaviest fightings of the entire Russian invasion of Ukraine have taken place in Severodonetsk, where street-by-street battles have been going on for a month, with Russia slowly and painstakingly taking more ground.
Ukrainian forces had already been pushed back from much of the city, leaving them in control of only industrial areas.
Haidai said Severodonetsk has been “nearly turned to rubble” by continual bombardment.
“All critical infrastructure has been destroyed. Ninety percent of the city is damaged, 80 percent [of] houses will have to be demolished,” he said.
The battle for the city is key for Russia to…