Russian forces "storming" city in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian officials say

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Russian and Ukrainian troops engaged successful close-quarter combat successful an eastbound Ukraine metropolis Sunday arsenic Moscow's soldiers, supported by aggravated shelling, attempted to summation strategical footholds for conquering the portion successful the look of fierce Ukrainian resistance.

Ukrainian determination officials reported that Russian forces were "storming" Sievierodonetsk aft trying unsuccessfully to encircle the city. The warring knocked retired powerfulness and cellphone service, and a humanitarian alleviation halfway could not run due to the fact that of the danger, the politician said.

Sievierodonetsk, located astir 143 kilometers (89 miles) southbound of the Russian border, emerged successful caller days arsenic the epicenter of Moscow's quest to seizure each of Ukraine's concern Donbas region. Russia besides stepped up its efforts to instrumentality adjacent Lysychansk, wherever civilians rushed to flight persistent shelling.

The 2 cities are the past large areas nether Ukrainian power successful Luhansk province, which makes up the Donbas unneurotic with neighboring Donetsk. Russia is focused, aft failing to prehend Ukraine's capital, connected occupying parts of Donbas not already controlled by pro-Moscow separatists.

Russia's penetration  of Ukraine A presumption of a destroyed gathering pursuing a shelling, amid Russia's penetration of Ukraine, successful Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk region, Ukraine May 22, 2022, successful this inactive representation obtained from societal media video.  VIDEO OBRAINED BY REUTERS

Russian forces made tiny advances successful caller days arsenic bombardments chewed distant astatine Ukrainian positions and kept civilians trapped successful basements oregon desperately trying to get retired safely. Attacks to destruct subject targets passim the state besides caused casualties successful civilian areas

In his Saturday nighttime video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the concern successful the eastbound arsenic "very complicated" and "indescribably difficult." The "Russian service is trying to compression astatine slightest immoderate result'' by concentrating its attacks there, helium said.

Civilians who reached the eastbound metropolis of Pokrovsk, astir 130 kilometers (80 miles) southbound of Lysychansk, said they held retired arsenic agelong arsenic they could earlier fleeing the Russian advance.

Yana Skakova choked backmost tears arsenic she described leaving with her 18-month and 4-year-old sons portion her hubby stayed down to instrumentality attraction of their location and animals. The household was among 18 radical who lived successful a basement for the past 2 1/2 months until constabulary told them Friday it was clip to evacuate.

"None of america wanted to permission our autochthonal city," she said. "But for the involvement of these tiny children, we decided to leave."

Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Striuk said determination was warring astatine the city's autobus presumption connected Saturday. Residents risked vulnerability to shelling to get h2o from a half-dozen wells, and determination was nary energy oregon cellphone service, Striuk said.

Striuk has estimated that 1,500 civilians successful the city, which had a prewar colonisation of astir 100,000, person died successful Russian attacks since the opening of the war, arsenic good arsenic from a deficiency of medicine and diseases that couldn't beryllium treated.

The Institute for the Study of War. a deliberation vessel based successful Washington, questioned the Kremlin's strategy of assembling a immense subject effort to instrumentality Sieverodonetsk, saying it was proving costly for Russia and would bring fewer returns.

"When the Battle of Sieverodonetsk ends, careless of which broadside holds the city, the Russian violative astatine the operational and strategical levels volition apt person culminated, giving Ukraine the accidental to restart its operational-level counteroffensives to propulsion Russian forces back," the institute said successful an appraisal published precocious Saturday.

The deteriorating conditions raised fears that Sieverodonetsk could become the adjacent Mariupol, a larboard metropolis 281 kilometers (175 miles) to the southbound that spent astir 3 months nether siege earlier the past Ukrainian fighters surrendered.

After Russia's forces gained implicit power of Mariupol, they piled bodies of dormant radical wrong a supermarket successful the occupied city, an adjutant to Mariupol's Ukrainian politician said Sunday.

The aide, Petro Andryushchenko, posted a photograph connected the Telegram messaging app of what helium described arsenic a "corpse dump." It showed bodies stacked alongside closed supermarket counters.

It was not instantly imaginable to verify his relationship oregon the authenticity of the photo, which Andryushchenko described arsenic recent.

"Here the Russians bring the bodies of the dead, which were washed retired of their graves during attempts to reconstruct the h2o supply, and partially exhumed. They conscionable dump them similar garbage," helium wrote.

Haidai, the provincial politician of Luhansk, said changeless shelling created a "severe" concern successful Lysychansk. "There are fatalities and wounded people," helium wrote connected Telegram, without elaborating.

On Saturday, helium said, 1 civilian died and 4 were injured aft a Russian ammunition deed a high-rise flat building.

But immoderate Luhansk proviso and evacuation routes inactive functioned Sunday, helium said. He claimed the Russians had retreated "with losses" astir a colony astir 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Sievierodonetsk but conducted airstrikes connected different adjacent colony connected the strategical Siverskiy Donetsk river.

The Ukrainian subject said Sunday that Russian forces besides were trying to fortify their positions astir Lyman, a tiny metropolis that serves arsenic a cardinal obstruction hub successful the Donetsk region.

Moscow claimed Saturday to person taken Lyman, but Ukrainian authorities said their fighters remained engaged successful combat successful parts of the city.

"The force is reinforcing its units," the Ukrainian equipped forces' General Staff said successful an operational update. "It is trying to summation a foothold successful the area."

The Ukrainian service said that dense warring was ongoing astir Donetsk, the provincial capital.

More widely, Russia launched renewed airstrikes overnight connected Ukraine's bluish Kharkiv and Sumy regions, and successful cardinal Ukraine, Ukrainian authorities agencies said.

The State Emergency Service of Ukraine exigency work said Sunday greeting that Russian shelling caused fires astir Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city. Russia has kept up a bombardment of Kharkiv, located successful northeastern Ukraine, aft Ukrainian fighters pushed its forces backmost from positions adjacent the metropolis respective weeks ago.

The Kharkiv determination prosecutors' bureau said a Russian ammunition broke done the country of a location and wounded a 50-year-old antheral and a 62-year-old pistillate aboriginal Sunday successful the municipality of Zolochiv, astir 40 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of Kharkiv.

The Ukrainian Border Guard Service said borderline areas successful the Sumy region, eastbound of Kharkiv, were deed with six unguided missiles. The bureau did not notation reports of immoderate casualties.

Russia claimed its forces destroyed an important Ukrainian ammunition depot successful the eastbound metropolis of Kryvyi Rih, Zelenskyy's hometown. High-precision missiles struck a depot located "within 1 of the concern enterprises" successful the city, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said.

Ukrainian exigency services confirmed that "an concern plant" successful Kryvyi Rih caught occurrence aft being struck by 2 Russian rockets and sustaining "significant damage." Officials did not accidental whether it was being utilized arsenic a subject depot.