Russian forces are “advancing” in several areas north of the city of Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine after they “completed regrouping of troops,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Sloviansk city military administration said hundreds of people were fleeing Sloviansk every day, with evacuation numbers almost doubling this week. A missile strike that killed three people on Tuesday “pushed the citizens to leave,” the official said.
In nearby Lyman, Russia is also “advancing in the direction of Sviatohirsk, trying to push our troops to the right bank of the Siverskyi Donets River,” the military said.
Russian troops continue to pummel areas of eastern Ukraine. In the past 24 hours, eight civilians were killed and 11 were injured in the Donetsk region after Russian forces shelled 15 areas, an update from the regional military-civilian administrations said on Sunday.
Russia also conducted two air strikes in Donetsk, including one overnight in the key city of Kramatorsk, which caused “serious damage to two enterprises in the city,” but did not result in casualties, Oleksandr Honcharenko, Kramatorsk Mayor said.
In areas around Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia, the Russians are “firing on the front line of defense and the rear areas of our troops, in order to restrain our units and prevent their regrouping,” the military said.
And in Luhansk, Russian forces fired on five areas, including Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, with artillery and multiple rocket launchers. Air strikes were also carried out on four areas, regional officials said.
In Severodonetsk, one person was also killed and two others were injured after a building on the Azot chemical factory complex was damaged by Russian artillery shelling, regional officials said.
Russia’s units are “focusing on offensive operations to surround our troops” in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, and to “block the main logistics routes,” the military said.
The Russian general Aleksandr Dvornikov “has received the task by June 10 of either completely capturing Severodonetsk, or completely cutting off the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway and taking it under control,” Serhiy Hayday, head of Luhansk regional military administration said. “Therefore, a huge amount of forces, everything they had, all reserves — everything is used to accomplish these two tasks.”
Near Severodonetsk in the city of Lysychansk, a humanitarian aid center was “completely destroyed” by Russian shelling on Sunday, Hayday added.
In the northeast, in the Kharkiv region, the Russians used phosphorus munitions in the Cherkaski Tyshky area northeast of Kharkiv, the military said.
One person was also injured after Russian shelling of Chuguev to the southeast of Kharkiv, and several other areas came under fire overnight, regional officials said.
“The enemy does not stop firing on the positions of our troops near the city of Kharkiv,” the military statement said.
In Sumy in the northeast, Russia fired artillery shells at infrastructure facilities in two areas, the military said, and the Chernihiv region in the north was also shelled.