Russian forces entered Kreminna, a town in the eastern Lugansk region that was bombarded for weeks as Russian forces push west into Donbass, a senior Ukrainian official said.
“The Russians have entered the Kreminna. The street fights have started,” Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk regional military administration, said in a brief Facebook post Monday morning.
The Russians had entered the city with “a huge amount of material”, he said.
The offensive has begun,” he said.
The Russians attempted to smash Ukrainian resistance in the Kreminna and a series of towns and villages in Luhansk as they attempted to advance towards the borders of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions – the stated goal of the ‘special military mission’ of President Vladimir Putin.
Evacuation was now impossible, Haidai said.
“We planned the evacuation, literally along forest roads, so that people wouldn’t come under fire. But overnight the situation changed. During the fighting [has broken out] in the city, it is unrealistic to count the civilians who remain there,” Haidai said.
Haidai said the Olympus sports facility in Kreminna was “burning down” and the fire now covered an area of 2,400 square meters.
“The rescuers are working hard because there is a forest near the center,” he said.
Haidai said elsewhere in the region, two people were killed and four injured in Zolote, while seven people were found in the rubble of a destroyed building in Rubizhne.
On Sunday evening, Russian forces fired on a police building in Lysychansk, Haidai said, injuring six police officers.
The shelling continues, he said.