Luhansk Oblast, part of the Donbas region in the east of Ukraine, is one of the most damaged territories in Ukraine, with massive losses among the local population, as well as infrastructure.
The invading Russian military continues to bombard the city of Lysychansk, one of the last Ukrainian-held settlements in the oblast, with aircraft.
Russian troops have established control over the settlements of Severodonetsk, Syrotyne, Voronove and Borivske. Severodonetsk used to be a major industrial center for the Donbas region but has now been almost entirely destroyed.
“After conquering Severodonetsk, the enemy’s army is concentrating its forces on establishing control over the city of Lysychansk, the last Ukrainian fortress there,” said Serhiy Hayday, the regional governor.
“Aircraft has been attacking the city itself, but also its outskirts – like Bila Hora [a village nearby].”
According to Hayday, Lysychansk has already been damaged very substantially.
“You wouldn’t recognize Lysychansk if you see it now,” he said.
“The television broadcasting tower is lying on the ground, the car transportation bridge is damaged, lots of residential property has been hit by missiles, Ukraine’s (SBU) Security Service office here is also damaged.”
Local emergency service found a dead male body on the territory of a local hospital. He was killed by an explosion.
On the eve of a new Russian advance in Luhansk Oblast, the Ukrainian military received an order to retreat from Severodonetsk to avoid more personnel losses, and seek a new geographical position to build up defensive positions to stop the Russian army in the Donbas area.
Following the Ukrainian withdrawal, the Russian military immediately took over Severodonetsk and the neighboring towns.
“Right before the Ukrainian army retreated, Russians did another round of heavy shelling focused on Azot, a chemical plant, and a field facility of Severodonetsk’s emergency agency,” Hayday reported.
“They shelled Pavlohrad and Synetske, local villages. They put more fire pressure on Lysychansk’s bridges. The villages of Vovchoyarivka, Loskutivka, Verhnyokamyanka and Zolotarivka have been pressured too, with more damage.”
All civilians living in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts have been advised to evacuate when possible. The Ukrainian government and local volunteers had been providing evacuation buses on a daily basis, before the combat grew so intense that evacuation was no longer possible without agreeing a sustainable cease-fire.
Some civilians have refused to leave Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, citing various reasons, like serious medical conditions.