Ukraine claims Russian troops pushed back in eastern city

The Ukrainian forces have fought back against the Russian advance in the eastern city of Severodonetsk recapturing one-fifth of the industrial city in the past couple of days, according to Serhiy Haidai, the governor of Luhansk province.

Fierce fighting raged on Saturday in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk – the last two cities still not in full Russian control more than 100 days after Moscow invaded its western neighbour.

“They [Russians] didn’t seize it fully,” Haidai said on Friday, adding the invading forces had been pushed back “20 percent”.

Ukrainian troops were still holding an industrial zone in Severodonetsk, Haidai said, a scenario reminiscent of Mariupol, where a steel factory was the eastern port city’s last holdout.

On Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there had been “some progress” in the battle for Severodonetsk but gave no specifics.

In the city of Sloviansk, about 80km (50 miles) from Severodonetsk, the mayor has urged residents to evacuate in the face of intense Russian bombardment, with water and electricity cut off.

“The situation is getting worse,” student Gulnara Evgaripova told the AFP news agency as she boarded a minibus to leave the city.

Ekaterina Perednenko, a paramedic, said: “I am scared that there will be nothing to come back to.”

Russia reinforces its troops

Ukraine’s military said on Saturday Russia had reinforced its troops and had used artillery to conduct “assault operations” in Severodonetsk city. But it said Russian forces had retreated after failed attempts to advance in the nearby town of Bakhmut and cut off access to Severodonetsk.

Haidai said in a social media post that four people were killed in Russian attacks in the region on Saturday, including a mother and a child.

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