Ukrainian soldiers are fighting to keep control of the strategic city, but evacuation of civilians is currently not possible, said Oleksandr Stryuk, the city’s chief of staff. The situation for these civilians is becoming worrying with the rise of the Russian offensive that would now hold 50% of Severodonetsk.
“The city is still in the hands of the Ukrainians, and it is fighting … (but) evacuations are not possible because of the fighting”Oleksandr Stryuk, the head of the city administration, told Ukrainian television, reporting fierce street fighting and incessant bombing.
In this context, the situation of thousands of blocked civilians raises fears of the worst. “You can’t save lives in a rain of grenades” Jan Engeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, an NGO whose main staff in Ukraine was until the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 14, based in Severodonetsk, said on Twitter.
We cannot save lives under the hail of grenades.
We call on parties to the conflict in Ukraine to immediately allow aid agencies access to Severodonetsk and to allow safe evacuations of civilians. https://t.co/BrifqPdaT0
– Jan Egeland (@NRC_Egeland) May 31, 2022
In a statement, he explained: “We fear that up to 12,000 civilians will be trapped in the city’s crossfire without sufficient access to water, food, medicine or electricity. Near-constant bombing is forcing civilians to flee. shelter in bomb shelters and basements, with only a few valuable opportunities for those trying to escape. “
“In collaboration with our local partners,” he said, “last week we provided thousands of monthly food and hygiene packages to civilians left in Severodonetsk and the enlarged Louhansk region. But today, the intensification fighting makes it impossible to deliver aid.“
Serhany Haidai, the governor of Luhansk, also told Ukrainian state television that there were about 15,000 civilians left in Severodonetsk, most of its 120,000 people had fled since the city was heavily bombed by artillery. Russian.
The stakes are high because if Russian forces succeed in capturing the city, they will be able to claim control of the entire Louhansk region, their biggest victory since the beginning of the conflict.