A man walks past a residential building damaged in a bombing in Severodonetsk, Ukraine. File photo by Stringer/EPA-EFE
May 21 (UPI) — Russian attacks in and around the city of Severodonetsk in Ukraine’s Luhansk region have killed at least six civilians, a Ukrainian official confirmed on Saturday.
“The Russians are destroying Severodonetsk, like Mariupol,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
Shelling in and around the easternmost town under Ukrainian control killed at least six civilians, Haidai said.
The victims included two people sheltering in a school basement, two women killed by Russian shelling in the nearby towns of Lysychansk and Privillia, and a man and a woman who died near their home in Severodonetsk, according to Haidai.
Three people were also injured when the school was targeted.
On Thursday, 12 people died in the shelling and shelling of Severodonestsk by the Russian military, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement.
The Russians “have thrown all their forces and efforts into the assault on Severodonetsk and cut off the Lysychansk-Bakhmut road, so that we cannot evacuate people, deliver humanitarian aid or deliver supplies or ammunition to our defenders,” Haidai said. CNN.
“Fighting is currently taking place in the outskirts of Severodonetsk,” he added, saying the Ukrainian defenders repelled 11 enemy attacks.
Russian tanks, artillery systems and combat vehicles were destroyed in the fighting, and two Russian drones were shot down, according to Haidai.
A cooling tower at the Azot nitrogen and ammonia plant in Severodonetsk caught fire, and the fire was extinguished before it could spread, he added.
About 1,000 people were in the plant’s bomb shelters, according to Haidai, who said authorities were trying to provide them with humanitarian aid.
The plant “was not operating at full capacity, as it did in Soviet times,” Haidai also said. “But anyway, there are remnants of chemicals, which are dangerous and highly explosive.”
The Luhansk region, along with Donetsk, known as the Donbass region, has been partially controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.
Russian forces attempted to take full control of the two regions as part of an attempt to control the eastern Donbass region in the latest phase of the invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24.
The Russian Defense Ministry said at a briefing on Saturday that Kalibr cruise missiles launched from the sea around Malyn railway station in the Zhytomyr region west of kyiv destroyed a “large” batch of weapons delivered to the region from the United States and Europe.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Russia claimed full control of the Azovstal steel plant, the last Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged city of Mariupol, but Ukraine did not confirm Moscow’s claims.
Ukrainian troops forced Russian forces to withdraw from the encirclement of the city of Kharkiv, which is Ukraine’s second largest city.
However, at least seven people were injured on Friday, including an 11-year-old child, in a Russian missile strike on a cultural center in the eastern city of Lozova in the Kharkiv region.
Zelensky called Lozova’s attack “absolute evil”.
Meanwhile, Kherson in southern Ukraine has been under control since the invasion began.
Russian forces let a convoy of about 1,000 vehicles move in batches to evacuate last week after keeping it in one place for most of the day.
As the Russian-Ukrainian war approaches three months, there have been at least 3,838 civilians killed and 4,351 injured, according to an update from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The update notes that actual civilian casualties may be even higher due to delayed reports and numerous reports still awaiting substantiation.