Horror as Russia demolishes civilian escape route out of besieged Sievierodonetsk

Ukraine: First-person footage reveals warfare in Severodonetsk

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Local officials have confirmed that a bridge which joins the city to its sister city Lysychansk has been destroyed in a move that has blocked a main civilian escape route. The blowing up of the bridge linking the two cities across the river is just the latest in the bloody battles which have begun in the eastern Donbas region.

The fighting in the east has been some of the bloodiest since Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February. 

The head of the Sievierodonetsk region reported that it is believed one third of the city remains in Ukrainian control with two thirds in the hands of the Russians. 

In his nightly address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “The key tactical goal of the occupiers has not changed: they are pressing in Sievierodonetsk, severe fighting is going on there – literally for every metre.”

He added that reserve forces in the Russian army are being redeployed to help the mission in Donbas.

Following the circulation of an image of a 12 year old girl who was injured in a Russian strike, Zelensky said that “these very facts underscore the way in which Russia is seen by the world”.

He added: “Not Peter the Great, not Lev Tolstoy, but children injured and killed in Russian attacks.”

Last week Putin compared his actions to those of the Russian emperor Peter the Great’s 18th century conquest of lands held by Sweden.

The Governor of Luhansk province, Serhiy Gaidai said that Russian and Ukrainian forces were fighting street by street on Sunday in Sievierodonetsk.

He said: “About 500 civilians remain on the territory of the Azot plant in Sievierodonetsk, 40 of them are children. Sometimes the military manages to evacuate someone.”

Mr Gaidai confirmed the Russians had destroyed the bridge and said: “If after new shelling the bridge collapses, the city will truly be cut off.”

“There will be no way of leaving Sievierodonetsk in a vehicle” as there are no evacuation corridors or a cease-fire. 

The latest Ministry of Defence update said: “Russia is using its overmatch in force ratio and artillery to gradually seize territory in and around Severodonetsk.”

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On the weekend it was announced that a former British soldier was shot dead while fighting for Ukraine in Sevierodonetsk.

Jordan Gatley, 24, flew to Ukraine on March 18 after leaving the British Army in March after six years to sign up to the International Legion of Territorial Defence of Ukraine. 

Tributes have been pouring in on social media with the advisor to the Ukrainian President, Mykhailo Podolyak tweeting: “It takes a lot of courage to leave home and go thousand miles to defend what you believe in.

“Just because the heart says no. Because you can’t stand the evil. Jordan Gatley was a true hero.”

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