KYIV, Ukraine — Russia reports its forces have taken full control of residential neighborhoods in Ukraine’s flashpoint city of Severodonetsk, after Kyiv said its troops were fighting on in the eastern hub despite being outnumbered.
“The residential areas of the city of Severodonetsk have been fully liberated,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu tells a defense ministry meeting today.
The Russian army is still seeking to establish control over the city’s “industrial zone and the nearest settlements,” he adds, amid conflicting reports of who is in control of what.
Moscow has been pushing for control of the strategic industrial hub as part of its bid to conquer a vast swath of eastern Ukraine but Kyiv’s forces have so far managed to hold out.
“Our heroes are holding their positions in Severodonetsk. Fierce street fights continue in the city,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address late yesterday.
After being repelled from other parts of the country, including Kyiv, Russia has concentrated its assault on the eastern Donbas region and had been making slow but steady progress.
Severodonetsk — the largest city still in Ukrainian hands in the Luhansk region of the Donbas — has been the focal point in recent weeks.