Around 10,000 civilians are trapped in Ukraine’s eastern city of Severodonetsk, where intense fighting with Russia has raged for weeks, the local governor said Thursday.
“Out of 100,000 residents, around 10,000 remain," Sergiy Gaiday, the governor of the Lugansk region, said on Telegram. He said Kyiv’s army is “holding back the enemy as much as possible."
“For almost four months they have dreamt of controlling Severodonetsk… and they do not count the victims," Gaiday said.
He said the Russian army “loses hundreds of fighters, finds reserves and continues to destroy Severodonetsk".
The city is the biggest in the Lugansk region that is still in Ukrainian hands and it has been under heavy shelling for weeks.
The three bridges linking the city to Ukrainian-held Lysychansk, just across the river, have all been destroyed.
Capturing the city would allow Russian forces to advance further into the Donbas region.
The Ukrainian authorities have said hundreds of civilians have taken refuge in the city’s Azot chemical plant and that the factory is constantly bombarded.
Russia on Wednesday accused Ukrainian forces of preventing these civilians from being evacuated.