A Ukrainian official in Luhansk region has acknowledged that most rural settlements around the city of Severodonetsk have now fallen to the Russians.
"At the moment, the situation is such that almost all rural settlements around Severodonetsk are now not under our control. The home front remains just the city of Lysychansk," Roman Vlasenko, head of the Severodonetsk district administration, told Ukrainian television.
Lysychansk is just across the Donets river from Severodonetsk, but it's unclear how many bridges are still intact.
Vlasenko's remarks suggest that the routes available for any withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Severodonetsk are narrowing. Resupply lines from the town of Bakhmut, which is also under frequent artillery attack, are tenuous, with persistent shelling.
Evacuation of civilians from Severodonetsk has been suspended.
Serhiy Hayday, the head of Luhansk's regional administration, said that a Russian air strike in Severodonetsk had hit a tank of nitric acid at a chemical plant and warned people in the city to stay in shelters.
An officer in the Luhansk People's Militia, which supports Russian forces, says that Ukrainian forces are using bomb shelters and the city's industrial zone — a complex of heavy manufacturing plants — to resist.
Andrey Marochko, a lieutenant colonel in the militia, told Russian media that the Ukrainians are also using higher ground across the river to shell the militia.
"Nearby is the city of Lysychansk [which] is located on a hill and it is from there that the armed formations of Ukraine are firing at the city of Severodonetsk," he said.
Marochko claimed that the Ukrainians' main supply route from Bakhmut had been cut. "We control almost all logistics, but the enemy is trying in a roundabout way to supply this settlement by moving between forests on dirt roads."
The Ukrainian side has acknowledged that it has become more difficult to use the main highway from Bakhmut because of constant shelling, and that it is using other ways of reaching the cities at the frontlines.