Russian forces are now in control of the battered city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Iran PressEurope: Russian President Vladimir Putin, on February 24, 2022, criticized the West for not paying attention to Moscow's security concerns and called for the help of Donetsk and Luhansk officials in the Donbas region to order an attack on Ukraine.

"The Russians have fully occupied Severodonetsk, our military has retreated to more prepared positions," Oleksandr Stryuk, the Mayor of Severodonetsk told Ukrainian TV.

Ukrainian forces are withdrawing from Severodonetsk, effectively ceding the city to Russia and putting the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk almost entirely under Russian control following months of grueling and bloody fighting.

Severodonetsk was one of the last major Ukrainian strongholds in the area. Serhiy Hayday, a top military commander in east Ukraine, said the military decided to evacuate "because the number of dead in unfortified territories may grow every day."

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Russian forces have diverted much of their firepower toward overrunning the city, destroying every defensive position the Ukrainians have adopted. The strategy played out slowly, with the Russians making labored and sluggish gains around Severodonetsk throughout the spring and early summer.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had said earlier this month that the fate of eastern Ukraine was being decided in Severodonetsk. Russia concentrated its attack on the Donbas region, made up of the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, after facing strong opposition in trying to take the country's capital of Kyiv.

Zelensky also said this month that the battle for Severodonetsk will be one of the most difficult of the war and showed appreciation to those who have defended the city. 


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