Fighting in Luhansk
Ukraine orders withdrawal from Sieverodonetsk

Soldier in Seyerodonetsk

A Ukrainian soldier stands in a destroyed apartment during heavy fighting on the front in Sieverodonetsk. Photo: Oleksandr Ratushniak/AP/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Sieverodonetsk in the Luhansk region was fought for a long time. Now the Ukrainian soldiers received the order to retreat to new positions. The city is now completely in Russian hands.

Four months after the start of the war, Ukraine has ordered the withdrawal of its troops from the embattled city of Sieverodonetsk in the east of the country. That’s what the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajday, said on television.

Sievjerodonetsk has so far been one of the last parts of Luhansk that has not yet been conquered by Russian and pro-Russian fighters.

“It’s a situation now where it doesn’t make sense to hold out in battered positions,” said Hajdaj. The number of dead would then rise sharply. “Therefore, our defenders who are there have already received orders to retreat to new positions and conduct normal, full-fledged military operations from there.” According to the governor, up to 90 percent of the houses in Sievjerodonetsk have now been destroyed.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and has for weeks focused on attacks in the neighboring country’s east. The capture of the Luhansk region – as well as that of the adjacent Donetsk region – is one of Russia’s main goals.

The major city of Sievjerodonetsk in Luhansk was most recently under the control of Russian troops, even if they still encountered resistance. In the nearby city of Lysychansk, Russian soldiers also advanced to the outskirts on Thursday.