A man walks past a residential building damaged during a shelling in Severodonetsk, northwest of Luhansk, Ukraine, on April 16, 2022. File Photo by STR/EPA-EFE
June 1 (UPI) -- Russian forces have almost completely gained control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, officials said Wednesday.
Serhiy Hayday, head of Luhansk's regional military administration, said Russian forces, including Chechen fighters, occupy about 80% of Severodonetsk, with the city cut off from central sources of water, gas and electricity.
"Almost 100% of the city's critical infrastructure has been destroyed, 90% of housing stock has been damaged, 60% of which critically, i.e. it cannot be restored," he wrote in a Telegram post.
Russian troops have made an effort to surround the city, as they did with the southeastern port city of Mariupol, but Hayday said they have been unable to encircle Severodonetsk so far.
However, near-constant shelling has made evacuation and humanitarian aid impossible, with Russian forces striking a nitric acid tank at a chemical plant that exposed residents to toxic fumes.
Hayday added that six Russian soldiers had been captured as fighting continued in the streets of Severodonetsk.
"On some streets, our defenders are successful," he said.
In western Ukraine, Maksym Kozytskyi, head of the Lviv region military administration, said that Russian missiles have struck a railway near the Beskyd tunnel in the Carpathian mountains, injuring two people.
Anton Geraschenko, an adviser to the interior minister, said the strikes were meant to "disrupt rail traffic and stop the supply of fuel and weapons from our allies."