Ukrainian forces to withdraw from Severodonetsk, regional military chief says

Ukrainian soldiers ride a tank on a road of the eastern Luhansk region on June 23, 2022, amid Russia's military invasion launched on Ukraine. - On the road between the towns of Siversk and Bakhmut, AFP journalist witnessed several shellings on the route, which is now the main itinerary being used to reach the city of Lysychansk, since a highway has long been under shelling. Driving out of the devastated eastern Ukrainian city of Lysychansk on June 23, the journalists twice had to jump out of cars and lie on the ground as Russian forces shelled the city's main supply road. The three shelling incidents they witnessed took place on a stretch of road approximately 5 kilometres (3 miles) long. (Photo by Anatolii Stepanov / AFP) (Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw from Severodonetsk, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, Serhiy Hayday, said Friday, accusing Russia of destroying most of the city’s infrastructure.

“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 said the situation in Severodonetsk was unsustainable after round the clock shelling by Russian forces over several months.

Hayday went on to say Russia was now targeting neighboring 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 Hayday, 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.