As Russia attempts to link advances made in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine with its stronghold in the far east of the country, the city of Izyum has found itself caught up in terrible fighting, a local official said.
Council deputy Max Strelnyk told CNN the town had been “completely destroyed” by Russian aircraft and artillery, even as fierce battles continued inside Izyum for control of the ground.
Strelnyk said Russian troops occupied the northern part of the town and were attempting to cross the Seversky Donets River — which makes a U-shape as it runs through the town — to take the southern part as well, currently held by Ukrainian armed forces.
CNN has previously reported that much of central Izyum has been destroyed by military strikes.
"Unfortunately, we cannot say the exact number of dead [in the town]," Strelnyk said, but he estimated "more than a hundred" people had been killed in the fighting.
He said Russian forces had already destroyed the hospital and the morgue.
"The town is under complete blockade," he said.
"Russian troops will not let anyone in or out," he added, meaning humanitarian aid is unable to reach the town.
"There is no food, water or medicine," he said, describing the situation as a humanitarian catastrophe.