The battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk continues to rage as local officials say that Russia now controls most of the key city.
“The night was difficult,” said Oleksandr Striuk, head of Severodonetsk’s city military administration, on national television Thursday morning. “Our armed forces control part of the city -- the industrial zone, and the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Striuk said that around 10,000 people remained in the city. The industrial zone -- which contains the Azot chemical plant, where last week some 800 people were said to be sheltering -- came under heavy shelling overnight, he said.
There were no casualties at the chemical plant overnight and “the bomb shelter also survived,” said Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk region military administration via Telegram on Thursday.
“The blasts damaged at least two plant shops in the chemical plant,” Hayday said. “One of them is a key one -- for the ammonia production 1-B. However, no chemicals emissions were into the environment -- all fertilizers and chemicals, according to the owner of the enterprise, were removed from the territory on the second day of the war.”
Earlier Thursday, in an interview on national television, Hayday said that “street fights” continue to rage in the city.
The situation there is developing quite dynamically,” Hayday said.
“Russia is constantly firing on the part that is controlled by the Ukrainians. They are constantly firing artillery, and very powerfully," he added. "And they dismantle the houses floor by floor. In this sense, it is very difficult.”
Hayday said that he believed that Russia wanted to capture the whole city by the weekend, in time for Russia Day on Sunday, but that they would not achieve that goal.
“As soon as we have long-range artillery so that we can hold artillery duels with Russian artillery, our special forces can clear the city in two to three days," he said.
A National Guard commander fighting for control of the city told national television on Thursday that his forces were “catastrophically short of artillery barrels.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday evening that “in many ways, the fate of our Donbas is being decided there,” in Severodonetsk.
On Wednesday Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, said that his military is progressing according to plan in its so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“You will see the liberation of all the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts," he said. "That will hopefully take place soon.”