Speed Reads

encirclement in luhansk

No time to evacuate as Russian forces close in on a pair of Ukrainian cities

Russian forces on Tuesday attempted to encircle the twin cities that represent one of the last pockets of Ukrainian-controlled territory in Luhansk Oblast, The Guardian reports.

According to Reuters, whether Russia's assault on the cities from the north, south, and east succeeds "could determine the success or failure of Moscow's main campaign in the east."

Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, located on opposite banks of the Siverskiy Donets river, are home to a combined population of around 200,000. As Russian troops shelled the cities and the neighboring towns, some 15,000 people who were unable to escape sought shelter in Sievierodonetsk.

Luhansk Governor Sergiy Haidai said Tuesday that there is no time left to run. "At this point I will not say: get out, evacuate. Now I will say: stay in a shelter," he said on Telegram. "[S]uch a density of shelling will not allow us to calmly gather people and come for them."