Jun 13, 2022 - World

Severodonetsk left with 1 way out after Russian forces hit 2nd bridge

A picture taken on May 22, 2022, shows the destroyed bridge connecting the city of Lysychansk with the city of Severodonetsk in the eastern Ukranian region of Donbas.

A picture taken May 22 shows the destroyed bridge connecting the city of Lysychansk with Severodonetsk in the eastern Ukranian region of Donbas during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Russian forces destroyed a second bridge to Severodonetsk on Sunday, leaving the last remaining major city in the Luhansk region of the Donbas under Ukrainian control with just one way out, the regional governor said.

What's happening: Putin's forces were shelling the city's last remaining bridge, Luhansk region Gov. Serhiy Haidai said in a Telegram post. Russia's military was "throwing all their forces to cut off" Severodonetsk, Haidai said. "The next two or three days will be significant."

State of play: Russian forces have seized most of Severodonetsk, but Ukrainian troops remain in control of areas, including the Azot chemical plant, where 40 children are among some 500 civilians sheltering, according to Haidai.

  • "Sometimes the military manages to evacuate someone," Gaidai said. But now that the bridge over the Siverskyy Donets River linking Severodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk has been destroyed, evacuations are harder.

Of note: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week that, in many ways, the fate of the Donbas is being decided in Severodonetsk.

  • Zelensky said in an address on Sunday that Russian forces were pressing Severodonetsk, but Ukrainian troops were fighting for "every meter."

Between the lines: River crossing operations are "likely to be amongst the most important determining factors in the course of the war," the U.K. Ministry of Defense said in its intelligence report on Monday, as the Russian military invasion entered its 110th day.

  • The key central sector of the Russian military's frontline in the Donbas stretches for some 56 miles lies to the west of the Siverskyy Donets River, according to the defense ministry.
  • "To achieve success in the current operational phase of its Donbas offensive, Russia is either going to have to complete ambitious flanking actions, or conduct assault river crossings," the Defense Ministry said.
"Ukrainian forces have often managed to demolish bridges before they withdraw, while Russia has struggled to put in place the complex coordination necessary to conduct successful, large scale river crossings under fire."
ā€” U.K. Ministry of Defense
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