battle for Sievierodonetsk
Ukrainian troops fight to maintain foothold in Luhansk
Russian forces launched an assault on the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk on Sunday, hoping to capture one of the last pockets of Ukrainian-controlled territory in Luhansk Oblast, Reuters and The Associated Press report.
Luhansk Governor Sergiy Haidai said the Russian shelling was so intense that it was not possible for Ukrainian forces to assess their losses. Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Striuk estimated that around 1,500 civilians had been killed.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the bloody close-quarters battle for Sievierodonetsk shows Russia's desperation to "squeeze at least some result" out of its largely unsuccessful invasion.
The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War concurred. "The Russian invasion of Ukraine that aimed to seize and occupy the entire country has become a desperate and bloody offensive to capture a single city in the east while defending important but limited gains in the south and east," the think tank wrote in its daily assessment on Saturday.
The ISW also predicted that once "the Battle of Sievierodonetsk ends, regardless of which side holds the city, the Russian offensive at the operational and strategic levels will likely have culminated."