Russian troops have managed to conquer “a large part” of the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, in the east, the battle for neighboring Lysychansk is causing “enormous destruction”, the region’s governor announced on Wednesday.

Russian forces “control a large part of Severodonetsk. The industrial zone is still in our hands, with no Russians there. The fighting is taking place only in the streets inside the city,” announced the governor of the Lugansk region, Sergei Gaidai, in a message on Telegram.

“The Russians are opening fire on everything, they are destroying all the houses in Severodonetsk with tanks and artillery. They are also firing on the industrial zone, but the fighting continues and our boys resist in the streets,” Gaidai wrote.

The twin city of Lysychansk remains in Ukrainian hands, but is facing “powerful and chaotic” shelling, said the governor, who accused Russian troops of “deliberately” firing at hospitals and humanitarian aid distribution centers in that town.

The Russians “fire with heavy caliber weapons, the destruction is enormous,” he continued.

Shortly before, Gaidai admitted that the Ukrainian troops could be forced to “withdraw” from Severodonetsk “to more fortified positions”.

Severodonetsk and Lysychansk are the last major urban center controlled by kyiv in Lugansk and their fall would clear Russia’s path to Kramatorsk, the de facto administrative capital of the Donbas mining basin, a region already partially dominated since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists.

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