Ukraine said Saturday its forces were managing to push back against Russian troops in fierce fighting in Severodonetsk despite Russia “throwing all its power” into capturing the strategic eastern city, IgbereTV reports
At least seven civilians were reported killed in the Lugansk region where Severodonetsk is located and in the southern city of Mykolaiv, while a revered wooden church was reported to be on fire because of the fighting.
Lugansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said in an interview posted online that the invading forces had captured most of Severodonetsk, but that Ukraine’s forces were pushing them back.
“The Russian army, as we understand, is throwing all its power, all its reserves in this direction,” said Gaiday.
“Our soldiers have managed to redeploy, build a line of defence,” said the city’s mayor, Oleksandr Striuk, in a televised interview broadcast on Telegram Saturday.
“We are currently doing everything necessary to re-establish total control” of the city, he added. But he acknowledged the situation was “quite difficult”, with street fighting and artillery exchanges.
Russia’s army claimed some Ukrainian military units were withdrawing from the city.
Severodonetsk is the largest city still in Ukrainian hands in the Lugansk region, where Russian forces have been gradually advancing in recent weeks after retreating or being repelled from other areas, including around the capital Kyiv