|Severodonetsk , Ukrainian troops still in this city must surrender or die|
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the battle for Severodonetsk was "terrible". Reported by the Evening Standard, during a Monday evening address to the Ukrainian people, Zelensky said the death toll from the fighting was "very high". He also spoke about the strategic importance of the city of Severodonetsk, which is located in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Speaking on Telegram, Zelensky said: "The human toll from this battle is very high for us." "This is really scary."
Russian troops almost completely occupied the city. All three bridges to the embattled eastern city of Donbas have been destroyed, regional governor Serhiy Haidai said earlier in the day. The destruction of the bridge to the eastern frontline city meant that civilians could no longer be evacuated. But Haidai said there was still some "access" to the city. He also said Russia had not yet gained full control of Severodonetsk.
"Some are still under Ukrainian control," he said.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops remaining in the city must surrender or die, said a military representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. Severodonetsk, a manufacturing hub in the Luhansk region, was key in Russia's attempt to conquer the Donbas. It would be one of the last cities in the region to fall into Putin's hands if taken over. Severodonetsk has been under intense bombardment over the past few weeks as the battle for control of the Donbas intensifies. Denis Pushilin, leader of the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk region of Ukraine, said there had been an increase in fighting and shelling in the region.
"All the necessary forces, including allied forces, including the troops of the Russian Federation, will be engaged to fight the enemy," Pushilin said. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russia's RIA state news agency as saying: "In general, the protection of the republic is the main objective of this special military operation." Donetsk and Luhansk are two regions that broke away from Ukraine. Russia recognized the two territories as independent states ahead of its invasion of Ukraine.