Russian forces took two more Ukrainian towns on the outskirts of Severodonetsk Monday, increasing their hold on the eastern Donbas region, and putting more pressure on the industrial city that has been Kyiv’s tenuous redoubt in the region.
Moscow’s troops took Toshkivka, on the western bank of the Siverskyi Donets river, according to Russian authorities. The victory extends Russia’s reach across the river after weeks of trying.
Russia also captured Metyolkine, a small eastern suburb of Severodonetsk where some 800 people lived before the war began. Russian state media claimed Ukrainian fighters there surrendered to Russian forces. Kyiv confirmed the town’s loss on Monday.
“We must understand that the enemy has an advantage both in terms of personnel and weapons, so the situation is extremely difficult. And at this very minute these decisive battles are ongoing at the maximum intensity,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Ukrainian television.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the battle for the Donbas “a matter of life or death” for his nation.
Speaking by video-link to western governments at a policy conference in Milan, he again called for more sophisticated weaponry to beat back the numerically superior Russian army.
“We need your support, we need weaponry, weapons that will have better capabilities than the Russian weapons,” he said.
Speaking to Ukrainians in a video address Sunday night, Zelensky warned that Russian forces would step up their attacks ahead of a planned EU summit, where European leaders were expected to express support for Ukrainian inclusion in the bloc.
“Obviously, this week we should expect from Russia an intensification of its hostile activities,” Zelensky said. “We are preparing. We are ready.”
Meanwhile, in Severodonetsk, the small industrial city that continued to be a Ukrainian bulwark against Russian occupation of the state of Luhansk, the bombardment continued as it has for weeks.
“It’s just hell there. Everything is engulfed in fire, the shelling doesn’t stop even for an hour,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said.
With Post wires