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Ukrainian forces pushed back from center of Severodonetsk — Kyiv

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(Photo: AFP)
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KYIV — Ukraine said on Monday that its forces have been pushed back from the center of the eastern city of Severodonetsk, where fighting with Russia has raged for weeks. اضافة اعلان

“The enemy, with support of artillery, carried out assault operations in the city of Severodonetsk, had partial success, pushed our units away from the city center,” the Ukrainian military said on Facebook.

Moscow-backed separatist forces said the city had been “blocked” and called on Ukrainian troops to “surrender”.

“Severodonetsk has de facto been blocked after they blew up the last bridge yesterday which connected it to Lysychansk,” Eduard Basurin, a rebel representative, told reporters in Donetsk on Monday. 

“They have two options: to surrender or die.”  

He also said Moscow-backed forces were carrying out an offensive on the key city of Slovyansk from “west, north and east”.

Local governor Sergiy Gaiday conceded “the Russians were partially successful at night” in the city.

He said Moscow forces control “more than 70 percent” of the city.

Gaiday said the Azot chemical plant — where 500 civilians, including 40 children are taking shelter — is being “heavily shelled” by Russian forces.

“We are trying to negotiate a humanitarian corridor” for the civilians, Gaiday said in a separate video on Telegram.

He added that the efforts had “for now no success”.

Gaiday earlier said Moscow’s forces were “gathering more and more equipment” to “encircle” Severodonetsk and nearby Lysychansk.

He said three civilians were killed by shelling in Lysychansk, across a river from Severodonetsk, in the last 24 hours, including a six-year-old boy.

The governor said Ukrainian security services had exposed 50 “traitors” in Lysychansk, who he said were sending information to Russian forces.

Presidential advisor Mikhaylo Podolyak said on Monday that Kyiv needs “heavy weapons” to end the war.

“Being straightforward — to end the war we need heavy weapons,” he tweeted.

He listed what he said the Ukrainian army needed: “1000 howitzers caliber 155 mm; 300 MLRS (multiple rocket launchers); 500 tanks; 2000 armored vehicles; 1000 drones.”

He said Kyiv is awaiting a decision on arms deliveries after Western defense ministers meet in Brussels on June 15.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said late on Sunday that Ukrainian and Russian forces were fighting for “literally every meter” in Severodonetsk.

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