‘Fierce battles’ unfold outside Severodonetsk in Ukraine: report

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The United Nations said the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine was “extremely alarming”.

Kyiv:

Ukrainian authorities said Saturday that “fierce battles” with Russia were raging in villages outside the eastern city of Severodonetsk, which Moscow forces have been trying to seize control for weeks.

“Now the fiercest battles are taking place near Severodonetsk. They (Russia) do not fully control the city,” Governor of the eastern Lugansk region, Sergiy Gaiday, said on Telegram.

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“In neighboring villages there are very tough fights – in Toshkivska, Zolote. They try to break through but fail,” he said.

“Our defenders are fighting the Russians in all directions. Recently they shot down a plane and took captives,” he said.

He also said Lysychansk – a Ukrainian-controlled town across a river from battered Severodonetsk – is “heavily shelled”.

“They can’t get near it and that’s why they just shoot the city with airstrikes,” he said. “It’s very dangerous in the city.”

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Gaiday said there was “more destruction” at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk, where hundreds of civilians are sheltering.

On Friday, he said 568 people, including 38 children, were hiding in the factory and that only a “complete ceasefire” would ensure their evacuation.

The United Nations said on Friday that access to clean water, food, sanitation and electricity was declining in Severodonetsk.

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He said the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine was “extremely alarming”.

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