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Ukraine's Severodonetsk 'completely' under Russian occupation after months of fighting: reports

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Kyiv | June 25, 2022 10:25:33 PM IST
The eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk is completely under Russian occupation, the city's head of military administration said on Saturday.

"The (Russians) appointed a commandant. But the city is so destroyed that it will be difficult for people to cope with this situation," said military administration chief Oleksandr Striuk, CNN reported.

According to the regional military officials, the last troops in Severodonetsk had been ordered to leave, as it was impossible to keep defending their positions.

Serhiy Hayday, a top military commander in east Ukraine, said the military made the decision to evacuate "because the number of dead in unfortified territories may grow every day." "It makes no sense to stay," Hayday said.

However, it's unclear if Ukrainian forces are currently leaving the city, or if they have already evacuated, reported CNN.

Russian forces have diverted much of their firepower toward overrunning the city, simply destroying every defensive position the Ukrainians have adopted.

The strategy played out slowly, with the Russians making laboured and sluggish gains around Severodonetsk throughout the spring and early summer.

Meanwhile, Ukraine accused Russia of dragging Belarus into the ongoing war in Kyiv, after reports that missiles were fired from Belarusian territory into a northern border region.

As Ukrainian authorities assessed the damage from dozens of missile strikes overnight, the Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate said that many of the missiles were fired from Belarusian airspace, CNN reported.

"Missile strikes from the territory of Belarus are a large-scale provocation of the Russian Federation in order to further involve Belarus in the war against Ukraine," the Directorate said.

"Russian bombers hit directly from the territory of Belarus. Six Tu-22M3 aircraft were involved, which launched 12 Kh-22 cruise missiles," it said.

The Directorate said the missiles had been launched from airspace above the district of Petrikov in southern Belarus. (ANI)

 
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