Ukraine says Sievierodonetsk has not been cut off

Ukrainian authorities said on Tuesday that a third bridge to Sievierodonetsk had been destroyed, but the eastern city had not been cut off, despite Russian forces knocking down after weeks of bloody fighting.

The head of the city administration, Oleksandr Stryuk, said “mass shelling has destroyed a third bridge” across the Siverskyi Donets River, which connects the city to Ukrainian-controlled Lysychansk.

“But the city is not isolated,” Stryuk told Ukrainian television.

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“There are communication channels, even if they are quite complicated.”

He said Ukrainian troops “continue to defend the city” and that fighting is ongoing 24 hours a day, adding that the ground situation “changes hourly”.

On Monday, the Ukrainian army said Moscow forces had pushed its forces back from the city center and Russian-backed separatists claimed the city was “blocked”.

“The Russian troops are not giving up their attempt to storm the city, but the army (Kiev) is holding out,” Stryuk said.

He estimated that there are “about 540 to 560” civilians hiding in the shelters of the Azot chemical plant in the city.

He said it was “difficult” to support them, but that there are “some reserves” in the factory.

Regional Governor Sergiy Gaiday said on Tuesday that Russian troops fired on the factory.

“Russian forces are trying to encircle units of our troops,” Gaiday said a day after admitting that Moscow’s military controlled “more than 70 percent” of the city.

He said Moscow’s troops in the city had been reinforced by “two tactical battalion groups.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday that the battle for Sievierodonetsk is taking a “terrifying” human toll.

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