Russia forces using ‘thermobaric rocket artillery’ in Severodonetsk

·2-min read
Russia is now in control of much of the city the governor said (REUTERS)
Russia is now in control of much of the city the governor said (REUTERS)

Russian forces have seized control of much of Severodonetsk and are using “themobaric” rockets, the governor of the Luhansk region has said.

“The situation remains difficult. Fighting continues, but unfortunately, most of the city is under Russian control. Some positional battles are taking place in the streets,” said Serhiy Gaidai.

He added Russian forces were using “highly destructive thermobaric rocket artillery” that is “dismantling floor-to-floor buildings that are used as shelters”.

“Unfortunately, enemy artillery is simply dismantling floor-to-floor buildings that are used as shelters. In this sense, it is difficult because the enemy will be knocked out of one street, and then they will start dismantling neighbourhoods house by house with tanks, artillery and grads,” the governor said according to a CNN report.

Severodonetsk has become epicentre of the battle in eastern Ukraine for control over the industrialised Donbas region, made up of the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces.

The city has been pulverised following weeks of fighting that has seen some of the bloodiest skirmishes since the invasion began on February 24.

Meanwhile, the Russian shelling of the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk caused a powerful fire to break out after a radiator oil.

Ukraine has said some 800 people were hiding in bomb shelters under the Azot plant, including employees and city residents.

“No one can say whether and how many victims there have been in the last 24 hours in Severodonetsk, where intense fighting continues," Gaidai said on the Telegram messaging app on Sunday.

"Yes, people have been constantly in the shelters, but the Russians are firing at residential areas for hours at a time, using large-calibre artillery," he said. “Everyone wants to evacuate now, probably, but so far there is no such possibility,”

In Lysychansk – Severodonetsk’s twin city across the Donets River - a woman was killed by Russian shelling while four houses and a shopping centre were destroyed.

To the south and southwest of Severodonetsk, Russian forces were firing mortars and artillery around a number of settlements, according to a daily update from Ukraine’s general staff.

But it said Ukrainian forces had repulsed Russian attempts to advance towards some communities.

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