On June 24, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration which is under Kiev’s control claimed that Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw from Severodonetsk. The Ukrainian military has been ordered to withdraw from the city.
The territory of the Azot plant remains under the control of Ukrainian armed formations. Severodonetsk itself and the airport in its vicinity are under control of the allied forces of the Russian Federation and the LPR. At the moment, it is unclear whether the Ukrainian official was referring to residential areas of Severodonetsk, which are already under full control of Russian-led forces, or the industrial zone of the city, where Ukrainian militants are hiding.
“Unfortunately, we will have to withdraw our military [from Severodonetsk]. It makes no sense to stay in positions broken after many months [of hostilities], because the number of dead in unfortified territories may grow every day,” Hayday said in a televised address. “Our defenders, who are there, have already received a command to withdraw to new positions, and to fully conduct hostilities from there.”
Hayday went on to say Russia was now targeting the city of Lysychansk from Zolote and Toshkivka, around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) to the south.
“They really succeed in some settlements,” he said. “Lysychansk is logistically stretched, the landscape is complex. Therefore, it is difficult to take it immediately.”
According to the Ukrainian official, Russian attempts to infiltrate the city with sabotage and reconnaissance groups had been repelled. He added that evacuations and deliveries of military and humanitarian aid to the city were ongoing. However, the official representative of the People’s Militia of the LPR, Ivan Filipenko, had previously claimed that both cities are an operational encirclement. Russian-led forces control the airspace over Lisichansk and Severodonetsk. The military of the LPR PM took control of the only road from Seversk to Lisichansk. Thousands of Ukrainian militants in Lisichansk were cut off from supplies.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that the militants of the nationalist formation “Aidar”, who are hiding in the Azot plant in Severodonetsk, declared their readiness to surrender on condition of a ceasefire.
First Deputy Minister of Information of the DPR Daniil Bezsonov claimed that 800 Ukrainian fighters surrendered in the last two days. About 1 thousand AFU servicemen were killed in the area of Lisichansk in the last two days. The approximate number of wounded should be about 2.5—3.5 thousand soldiers.
The LPR control of Severodonetsk will be officially announced soon. The interim administration is already being formed in the city. A local resident was already appointed the head of Severodonetsk.
Mr Bezsonov added that according to official data, there are 1,8 thousand AFU servicemen, 120 nationalists, 80 foreign mercenaries in the Gorskoe-Zolotoe region who found themselves in a trap.
While hostilities continue, about 10 000 civilians remain in the city, some of them are still in hostage in the industrial zone of Severodonetsk. In total more than 500 people are based in shelters of the Azot plant.
On June 24, three civilians managed to leave the territory of the Azot plant, the LPR commandant’s office of Severodonetsk reported. The civilians include two men and a woman.
“Three civilians managed to get out through the second checkpoint, although they lived in a bomb shelter at the first checkpoint. Now they have already been evacuated from the city,” the commandant’s office said.
Earlier it was reported that Ukrainian militants are based near the first checkpoint of the Azot plant and do not allow civilians to leave the plant. They also have less control over the second checkpoint.
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