Russia demanded that Ukrainian forces huddled in Severodonetsk’s chemical plant surrender their weapons and leave the country.
This comes as Moscow’s forces move closer to taking control of the strategically vital city, one of the few in the Donbas that they have not won yet.
According to Ukraine, more than 500 civilians as well as unspecified numbers of soldiers have been trapped in Azot, a chemical plant where they have been hiding from a Russian bombardment that has left most of the city in ruins.
Mikhail Mizintsev of Russia’s National Defence Management Centre told Interfax that Ukrainian troops must “stop their senseless resistance” and “lay down arms” starting at 6 a.m. UK time.
He said that civilians would be allowed to escape via a humanitarian corridor. However, his words came a day after it was revealed that two bridges leading out of the city had been destroyed and that the third one was unsafe.
Serhiy Haidai, Luhansk’s governor, stated that Azot civilians “cannot stand it in shelters. Their psychological state is on edge.”
This situation reminds me of the Battle for Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol where hundreds of civilians and fighters were shelter until their surrender in May. In this case, the Ukrainian soldiers are still in Russian custody.
According to Mr Haidai, Russia controls about 80% Severodonetsk. He also told the Associated Press that mass evacuations of civilians is “simply impossible” now.
Severodonetsk is home to approximately 12,000 people, compared to its 100,000 pre-war inhabitants.
* A top US defense official stated to Foreign Policy magazine that Russia has limited options while Vladimir Putin refuses formal declaration of war on Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin still refers to the invasion as a “specially military operation,” meaning that he can’t draw troops from the general populace.
* Odesa farmers have begun their grain harvest. However, Russia’s invasion will cause a global shortage of wheat for at least three seasons according to Ukraine’s agriculture minister.
* Reports of overnight shelling in Kharkiv have been reported. The UK Ministry of Defence stated that Russian forces may have made modest gains in Kharkiv for the first time since many weeks.
The Losses in Ukraine’s parts are ‘painful.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, stated Tuesday night that the losses in Severodonetsk as well as Kharkiv’s northeastern region were “painful”.
He said, “But we must hold on – it is our state.”
According to Ukraine, 100-200 soldiers are dying every day and hundreds more are injured. Russia has yet to provide figures but it is believed that its losses are high.
Severodonetsk, the twin city of Luhansk under Ukrainian control, is also in Luhansk. However, access to the two cities is difficult due to the loss of bridges. Fighters are at risk of being encircled or even killed by the Russians.
Ukraine is still asking for Western weapons to defend its Donbas territory, which includes Luhansk (and Donetsk).
Russia claims that it has destroyed several weapons shipments coming from Europe and the USA in recent weeks.
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Russia bans senior British journalists
On Tuesday, Russia also published a list of 29 British defense and media figures that it had banned from Russia.
According to the foreign ministry, the list was created in response to British media’s “deliberate dissemination of false and biased information” regarding the war.
It includes Sky News’ chief correspondent Stuart Ramsay, and Sophy Ridge, a politics presenter, as well correspondents for The Times, The BBC and The Guardian.