Updated Jun 14, 2022 - World

Evacuations "impossible" after Severodonetsk bridges destroyed

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 destroyed bridge connecting the city of Lysychansk with Severodonetsk in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas is seen on May 22 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

All three bridges to Severodonetsk have been destroyed following days of Russian shelling in the last remaining major city in the Luhansk region of the Donbas still under Ukrainian control, the local governor said Monday.

The big picture: Severodonetsk is the epicenter of the battle for the Donbas, and Russian forces now control about 70% of the eastern Ukrainian city, Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said in a Telegram post. "Evacuation is impossible," he added.

  • Fresh humanitarian supplies were also not possible now, according to Haidai.

What to watch: "Fierce battles are now going on throughout the Luhansk region. Today, Severodonetsk is becoming the new Mariupol, attracting a significant number of Russian forces," Haidai said in a post Tuesday, referring to the port city that endured weeks of bombardment before falling to Russia's military.

  • The Azot chemical plant where about 500 residents, including 40 children, are sheltering was being "heavily shelled," Hadai said.

What they're saying: President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address late Monday that the battle for the Donbas "will surely go down in military history as one of the most brutal" in Europe.

  • "The price of this battle for us is very high," Zelensky said. "It's just scary.
  • "And we draw the attention of our partners on a daily basis to the fact that only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage," he added.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded to separatists' requests for more forces on Monday by saying the main goal of the Russian government was to "protect Donetsk and Luhansk," per Reuters.

Context: The Donbas comprises the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, both of which Russian President Vladimir Putin declared breakaway "republics" days before he ordered his forces to invade Ukraine in February.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Hadai's comments about Mariupol and the Azot chemical plant being shelled.

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