Ukrainian forces have begun to withdrawn from Severodonetsk, but several units still remain in the Donbas city, as the operation is expected to last a few days, head of the Severodonetsk district military administration, Roman Vlasenko, told CNN.
“As of now, the Ukrainian military still remains in Severodonetsk,” Vlasenko said on Friday. “They are being withdrawn from the city at the moment. It started yesterday.”
There are a lot of units there, so I think the withdrawal will take a few days,” he added, without specifying where they were withdrawing to.
Vlasenko went on to say that 568 civilians were also in the city, inside the Azot plant.
They will be able to get out as soon as the shelling is over, but to the occupied territory,” he added.
Some background: Amid intense urban combat, hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children, took shelter in the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk. Unlike the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, it offers little protection below ground.
As with Azovstal, the Azot plant and its immediate surroundings became the focal point of Ukrainian resistance, frustrating Russian commanders.