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Last bridge to Severodonetsk destroyed, trapping civilians in city

KYIV, Ukraine (Transatlantic Today) – According to a Ukrainian official, Russian troops have closed off all evacuation routes from the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk by demolishing the only bridge connecting it to a Ukrainian-held city on the opposite side of the river. 

As the Russian onslaught in the eastern Donbas region neared a breakthrough success, regional governor Serhiy Haidai stated on social media on Monday that 70% of Severodonetsk was under Russian control. 

According to Hadai, the collapse of the last bridge over the river to the neighboring city of Lysychansk meant that any residents remaining in Severodonetsk were stranded, and humanitarian aid could not be delivered. 

According to Russia’s RIA news agency, pro-Moscow separatist spokesman Eduard Basurin said Ukrainian forces in Severodonetsk were completely cut off and therefore should surrender or die. 

Russian shelling also struck the Azot chemical factory, where hundreds of innocent people were reportedly sheltering, according to Haidai. 

Damien Magrou, a spokesman for the International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine, which has soldiers in Severodonetsk, said that the scenario might deteriorate into a repetition of Mariupol, with a significant pocket of Ukrainian fighters shut off from the rest of the Ukrainian army. 

Hundreds of residents and seriously injured Ukrainian army personnel were trapped in the Azovstal steel plant for weeks after Mariupol fell last month. 

According to Charles Stratford, reporting from Kyiv, the condition in Severodonetsk is highly concerning, with 10,000 inhabitants remaining and 500 civilians – including roughly 40 children – taking refuge in the Azot facility. 

Ukraine has been increasingly desperate for more Western heavy weaponry to assist protect Severodonetsk, which Kyiv believes holds the key to the struggle for the eastern Donbas area and the war’s fate. 

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated late Monday that the fight for eastern Donbas would go down in history as one of the most violent in European history. Russian separatists claim the territory, which includes the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. 

According to presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukraine requires 500 tanks, 1,000 drones, and 1,000 howitzers, among several other heavy weapons. 

Russia has disputed killing civilians in a “special operation” aimed at restoring Russian safety and “denazifying” its neighbor. 

Ukraine and its Western supporters denounce this as a spurious excuse for an invasion that has murdered hundreds of people and sparked concerns of wider European conflict. 

After failing to conquer Kyiv after the February 24 assault, Moscow shifted its focus to the Donbas, where pro-Russian separatists have controlled territory since 2014. Russia has also attempted to extend its control over Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. 

The major purpose of Russia is to safeguard Luhansk and Donetsk, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, who commented after the head of one of the separatist territories requested an extra Russian military. 

Moscow said it had destroyed European and American armaments and equipment in the most recent of numerous claims. 

High-precision air-based projectiles hit near the train station in Udachne, northwest of Donetsk, targeting equipment sent to Ukrainian troops, according to Russia’s defense ministry. 

Udachne was attacked by a Russian assault overnight on Sunday into Monday, according to Ukraine’s ministry of interior on Telegram, without specifying whether weapons were targeted. According to Al Jazeera, Russia has criticized the US and other countries for providing weapons to Ukraine, and has warned to hit additional targets if the West supplies long-range missiles.

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