Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy argued in a late night address Monday that fighting in the country’s eastern Donbas region has become “one of the most brutal battles” in European history.
“The battles in Donbas… will surely go down in military history as one of the most brutal battles in Europe and for Europe,” he said. “The price of this battle for us is very high.”
Kyiv has warned that its forces are losing between 100 and 200 soldiers every day, with hundreds more wounded as Russia seeks “full control” over eastern and southern Ukraine.
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The most brutal fighting in Ukraine is ongoing in the strategically important city of Sievierodonetsk located in the western Luhansk region.
Full occupation of the Luhansk region would allow Russian troops to not only push west into the Donetsk region but likely further into Ukraine.
Russia has been unable to gain full control over the city and has had trouble crossing the Siverskyi Donets river, which separates the city from western Ukraine.
Russian forces have relied heavily on an intense artillery campaign in Donbas and sent in ground forces to attack vulnerable communities surrounding Sievierodonetsk.
Ukraine on Tuesday said its military forces inside the city continue to hold Russia at bay from gaining complete control of Sievierodonetsk.
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But according to reports by Reuters, Russian forces destroyed the last remaining bridge over the Siverskyi Donets river, which could spell trouble for Ukrainian efforts.
“The situation is very difficult, but there is communication with the city,” Ukrainian mayor of Sievierodonetsk, Oleksandr Stryuk, told the outlet. “Russian troops are trying to storm the city, but the military is holding firm.”
Officials have been warning for weeks that the situation in Sievierodonetsk could turn into a Mariupol repeat as Russian forces attempt to encircle the partially besieged city.
Roughly 500 civilians are believed to be trapped in a chemical factory in the city as an unknown number of Ukrainian soldiers continue to resist Russia’s aggression.
Ukraine has asked Western allies to send more artillery to help turn the tide against Moscow.
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“Only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage and finally the end of Russian torture of the Ukrainian Donbas,” Zelenskyy warned Monday night. “It only takes enough weapons to make it happen. The partners have it – in sufficient quantities.
“We work every day for the political will to give us these weapons,” he added.
Zelenskyy vowed that the Ukrainian army would come to liberate areas occupied by Russian forces.