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'very fierce battle'

Zelensky: Fate of eastern Ukraine is 'being decided' in Sievierodonetsk

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that the fate of eastern Ukraine effectively hinges upon the city of Sievierodonetsk, where a vicious battle is underway.

Speaking during his daily presidential address, Zelensky said that Sievierodonetsk remains the center of the conflict against Russia in the Donbas region.

"According to the results of this day, the 105th day of the full-scale war, Sievierodonetsk remains the epicenter of the confrontation in Donbas," Zelensky said, per The Hill.  "We defend our positions, inflict significant losses on the enemy." 

"This is a very fierce battle, very difficult. Probably one of the most difficult throughout this war," the president continued. "I am grateful to everyone who defends this direction. In many ways, the fate of our Donbas is being decided there." 

On Sunday, Zelensky visited troops and civilians outside of Sievierodonetsk, speaking with mayors and handing out awards to soldiers. The appearance, which came at personal risk to the president, was lauded

The battle of Sievierodonetsk, which the Hill notes is "a small industrial city in eastern Ukraine" has proved one of the "bloodiest" of the months-long war, with mass casualties on both sides.