"Stench of bodies" reported as Russian troops enter key Ukrainian city
Russian troops were "advancing into the middle of Severodonetsk," the last remaining major city in the Luhansk region of the Donbas under Ukrainian control, a regional governor warned Monday.
Driving the news: Putin's forces had been been trying to encircle Severodonetsk for days, cutting aid and services — raising concerns that the besieged eastern Ukrainian city could face the same fate as the fallen port of Mariupol, AP notes.
- Luhansk region Gov. Serhiy Haidai said in a Telegram post that heavy fighting continued, but "the situation is very difficult."
- The Russian military assault on Severodonetsk has left about 1,500 people dead, according to Haidai, who said Monday that further shelling had killed two more residents and wounded five others.
What they're saying: "The weather is quite hot right now," Haidai said in another post. "And all over Severodonetsk's outskirts, we have this persistent corpse stench because [Russian forces] are not taking the bodies."
- President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address that 90% of Severodonetsk's houses had been damaged.
- "More than two-thirds of the city's housing stock has been completely destroyed," he added. "There is no mobile connection. Constant shelling."
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told France's TF1 television channel Moscow's "absolute priority" was "to push the Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian battalions out" of Donetsk and Luhansk.
- But he denied that the Kremlin wanted to annex the Donbas regions.
Go deeper... Dashboard: Russian invasion of Ukraine
Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Lavrov.