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giving ground

Ukrainian forces defending Sievierodonetsk may 'be forced to pull back,' governor says

Ukrainian troops facing a fierce Russian attack in the city of Sievierodonetsk may be forced to give up ground, Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Wednesday.

"Fighting is still going and no one is going to give up the city even if our military has to step back to stronger positions. This will not mean someone is giving up the city - no one will give up anything. But it's possible [they] will be forced to pull back," Haidai said on television, according to Reuters.

The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War suggested last week that withdrawing from Sievierodonetsk could be the best move for Ukraine. "Ukraine must husband its more limited resources and focus on regaining critical terrain rather than on defending ground whose control will not determine the outcome of the war," the think tank assessed.

Sievierodonetsk and its twin city, Lysychansk, are the last major obstacle standing between Russian forces and total control of Luhansk Oblast.