Day 118 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Russia has Taken Over all of Sievierodonetsk except “Azot”
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Russia owns all of Sievierodonetsk without its largest plant, Ukraine confirmed
Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces in Sievierodonetsk is currently being fought only in the city's industrial zone, and Ukraine owns only the “Azot” chemical complex. This was announced by the governor of Luhansk region Serhiy Haidai.
“The situation is very difficult on all lines of the Luhansk front”, he said.
Ukraine is waiting for a decisive week to find out whether the city of Sievierodonetsk in Donbas will be completely taken over by Russian forces. Currently, according to Kyiv, Moscow is trying to "clean up" the "Azot" plant, the largest industrial complex in the city, where there are also hiding civilians, and thus Russia to take control of one of the last territories in the Luhansk region, still in hands of Kyiv.
According to the American Institute for War Studies, there is confirmation from Ukrainian sources that Russian forces control the whole of Sievierodonetsk without "Azot".
Russia continues to try to sever ties between the cities of Bakhmut and Lysychansk (the twin city of Sievierodonetsk on the other side of the Siverskyi Donets River). Air strikes have been reported near Lysychansk and Ustinovka.
More attacks are expected
Some experts in recent days have advised Ukrainian forces to focus on Lysychansk, withdrawing all their forces from Sievierodonetsk.
The fall of the two cities would put the entire Luhansk region under Russian control, which is why the regional governor Serhiy Haidai allowed leaving Sievierodonetsk for tactical purposes in recent weeks. At the same time, the defense of Lysychansk was favored by the nearby hills. The city was also visited by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The fighting in the industrial zone alone is reminiscent of the situation in the southeastern city of Mariupol, once the largest port in Azov, where weeks were needed to end fighting in the Azovstal complex. For the city in Ukraine, there were fears that the fate of Mariupol would follow, most of which was destroyed during the Russian siege and subsequent battles.
Meanwhile, Russian forces are also trying to break through to Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, in the area where Kyiv's army launched a partially successful counter-offensive last month.
Yesterday, Zelensky announced that more Russian attacks on Ukraine are expected this week as the European Union examines Ukraine's application for candidate status. This spring, Moscow explained that it was already opposed to Ukraine's membership in the EU, after long claiming that its concerns were raised only by the country's hypothetical (but declared target) entry into NATO.
Russia is planning an autumn referendum on annexing the Kherson region
“The referendum on the accession of the Kherson region in Ukraine to Russia will take place in the fall”, said the deputy head of the Russian occupation administration Oleg Stremousov.
He explained that preparations for the referendum are under way and organizational issues are being resolved.
"We are following the path of Crimea," he said in an interview with Russian state television.
According to him, after the referendum, all residents of the Kherson region will become full citizens of the Russian Federation.
Stremousov added that the military-civil administration is improving the socio-economic situation in the district, starting to pay salaries and pensions in rubles, restoring the banking system and resuming the work of enterprises.
Meanwhile, the fire continues on one of the three drilling platforms of the Chornomornaftogaz company in the Black Sea, which were subjected to rocket fire by the Ukrainian army yesterday. This was announced by Crimean Senator Olga Kovitidi. 94 people were evacuated from the platforms, three were hospitalized without danger to life, the search for seven workers continues.
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