A man walks past a residential building damaged during shelling in Severodonetsk, in the Luhansk province of Ukraine on April 16. Russia has since moved closer to capturing the city, officials said. File Photo by EPA-EFE
June 13 (UPI) -- Russia destroyed all bridges leading to the key Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk Monday, the regional governor said.
Regional Gov. Serhiy Haidai said the three bridges leading into the city had been destroyed, adding that those remaining in the city were being forced to survive in "extremely difficult conditions," he said in a Telegram message.
"The bridges made it possible to carry at least some humanitarian cargo, something related to reserves. It is currently impossible to use those bridges," Haidai said.
Following the destruction of the bridges, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukrainians face the "significant advantage of the Russians in the amount of equipment and especially -- artillery systems."
"The price of this battle for us is very high. It's just scary," said Zelensky. "And we draw the attention of our partners on a daily basis to the fact that only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage and finally the end of Russian torture of Ukrainian Donbas."
After weeks of intense fighting Moscow's manpower and weapons advantage have helped Russia to move even closer to capturing Severodonetsk on Monday, officials said.
Severodonetsk, the last major eastern city still in Ukrainian control, is critical to Moscow's goal of successfully separating the Donbas region from Kyiv, which is Russia's major military goal in its months-long invasion of the country.
Haidai said he expects the Russian army to throw even more resources into Severodonetsk to secure the city, calling the situation for Ukrainian forces to hold onto the area "extremely difficult."
"Most likely, today or tomorrow, they will throw all reserves to capture the city," Haidai said, according to The New York Times.
Eduard Basurin, a leader of the internationally unrecognized separatist Donetsk Peoples Republic in eastern Ukraine, issued a stark warning for Ukrainian fighters there Monday.
"They have two options: Either follow the example of their colleagues and give up, or die," said Basurin, according to CNN. "They don't have any other option."
Haidai said about 500 civilians, including 40 children, are still sheltering at the city's Azot chemical plant, which remains under heavy bombardment "by large-caliber enemy artillery."
The British Defense Ministry said a 56-mile-long central sector of Russia's front line in the Donbas lies to the west of the Siversky Donets River, near Severodonetsk.
"To achieve success in the current operational phase of its Donbas offensive, Russia is either going to have to complete ambitious flanking actions, or conduct assault river crossings," the ministry said.
"Ukrainian forces have often managed to demolish bridges before they withdraw, while Russia has struggled to put in place the complex coordination necessary to conduct successful, large-scale river crossings under fire."
Zelensky described Moscow's bombardment throughout the country late Sunday in his nightly address, saying Russia has fired more than 2,600 cruise missiles at Ukrainian targets since the start of the war in February.
The battle for the Donbas region "will surely go down in military history as one of the most brutal battles in Europe and for Europe" he said, adding that a 6-year-old boy was killed in Russian shelling in the battle for Lysychansk.
He said Kyiv desperately needs more Western artillery, including advanced anti-air weapons to defend itself.
"The supply of such systems was possible this year, last year and even earlier. Did we get them? No. Do we need them? Yes," Zelensky said, according to The Washington Post. "There have already been 2,606 affirmative answers to this question in the form of various Russian cruise missiles that have hit Ukrainian cities.
"These are lives that could have been saved; these are tragedies that could have been prevented if Ukraine had been listened to."
A woman eats food given to her by volunteers at a food delivery station run by a Hare Krishna group in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo