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Putin's troops advance in strategic Donbas city 'still in Ukrainian hands'

Russian troops are moving slowly towards the center of the Ukrainian city Severodonetsk according to a regional governor. British intelligence warned that “gains” are being held.

Ukrainian soldiers are fighting for control of the city. However, evacuation of civilians is currently not possible, according to the head of the city administration.

Oleksandr Stryuk, a Ukrainian television host, stated that the city was still under Ukrainian control and that it is fighting for its survival. However evacuations are impossible because of the fighting.



A battle rages in a key Russian city – live Ukraine updates

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Russia’s “special military operation” is now focusing on the “liberation” of the eastern Donbas after it faced stiff resistance from Ukraine.

Russian-backed separatists hold a portion of the Luhansk-Donetsk region, which together make up the Donbas. Vladimir Putin wants it all in pro-Russian hands.

Serhiy Gaidai, the governor in Luhansk, gave an update from the Donbas pocket of resistance. He said that there were approximately 15,000 civilians still in Severodonetsk.

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Sky’s Alex Crawford reported from the city. Tensions were high among those who chose not to leave. Most of the city’s 120,000 residents fled the Russian bombardment.

Mr Gadai stated that the Ukrainian troops defending Severodonetsk can retreat across the Siverskyi Donets to Lysychansk in order to escape the encirclement.

Moscow’s primary objective is likely to be the encirclement of Severodonetsk, and the closing of the area around Ukrainian forces within Luhansk Oblast. This was stated by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

It stated in its most recent Twitter update that “heavy shelling continues” and that street fighting was likely to be taking place near Severodonetsk.

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“Russia is concentrating their forces”


Russian gains ‘are being held’

The MoD stated that progress has been slow, but gains have been made.

“Routes to the pocket are likely to remain under Ukrainian control. Russia has had greater success in local operations than before, thanks to its ability to mobilize forces and light fires in a small area. Russia is forced to take risks in other occupied territories.

It stated that Russia’s political goal was likely to be to occupy the entire territory of Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts.

Russia must secure additional challenging operational goals beyond Severodonetsk. This includes the city of Kramatorsk as well as the main road M04 Dnipro–Donetsk.

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This comes just as the EU has agreed to ban 75% Russian oil imports.

To appease Hungary, and other countries concerned about economic consequences of a complete ban, the embargo applies to Russian oil imported by sea. However, it does not apply to imports by pipeline.

Hungary imports more than 60% of its oil directly from Russia. It also relies on crude oil that is from the Soviet-era Druzhba (“Friendship”) pipe.

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