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Ukrainian forces to withdraw from Severodonetsk, regional military chief says

Olga Voitovych

Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw from Severodonetsk, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration, Serhiy Hayday, said Friday, accusing Russia of destroying most of the city’s infrastructure.

“Unfortunately, we will have to withdraw our military [from Severodonetsk]. It makes no sense to stay in positions broken after many months [of hostilities], because the number of dead in unfortified territories may grow every day,” Hayday said in a televised address.
“Our defenders, who are there, have already received a command to withdraw to new positions, and to fully conduct hostilities from there.”

Hayday said the situation in Severodonetsk was unsustainable after round the clock shelling by Russian forces over several months.

“All the infrastructure of the city is completely destroyed,” he said. “More than 90% of houses were fired on, about 80% of houses were critically destroyed. These are the ones that can no longer be restored, they must be demolished.”

Hayday went on to say Russia was now targeting neighboring Lysychansk from Zolote and Toshkivka, around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) to the south.

“They really succeed in some settlements,” he said. “Lysychansk is logistically stretched, the landscape is complex. Therefore, it is difficult to take it immediately.”

According to Hayday, Russian attempts to infiltrate the city with sabotage and reconnaissance groups had been repelled. He added that evacuations and deliveries of military and humanitarian aid to the city were ongoing.

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