KYIV: Ukrainian troops will “have to be withdrawn” from the mostly Russian-occupied battleground city of Sievierodonetsk, the regional governor said on Friday (Jun 24).
Some of the heaviest fighting of the entire Russian invasion of Ukraine has taken place in Sievierodonetsk, where street-by-street battles have been going on for a month, with Russia slowly and painstakingly taking more ground.
“Remaining in positions smashed to pieces over many months just for the sake of staying there does not make sense,” Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on television.
He did not indicate whether troops would be withdrawn immediately, or over what time frame any withdrawal would happen.
The battle for the city is key for Russia to establish control over the last remaining Ukrainian-held sliver of the Luhansk region, with only the city of Lysychansk left in Ukrainian hands if Sievierodonetsk were to fall.
The Luhansk region is one of two provinces that make up the Donbas, an area which Russia and its separatist allies in eastern Ukraine aim to fully capture as one of their war aims.
“In many respects, the fate of the Donbas is being decided there,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said of Sievierodonetsk recently.