Russian forces have stepped up military pressure around the Ukrainian city of Izyum over the past two days, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense. If the Russians manage to completely capture the city, then the road to the nearby Kramatorsk will be opened. In this way, the eastern city of Severondontsk, where fierce fighting was taking place, could be encircled.
The British report in their daily newspaper Intelligence update The Russian forces have intensified their efforts during the past 48 hours to reach southern Izyum.
Fighting had been going on for some time around Izyum, which is about 115 kilometers southeast of Kharkiv. Since April, the Russians have made little progress, due to opposition from the Ukrainian armed forces. So now new attempts are being made to take over the entire city.
According to British intelligence, Izyum is important for the Russians, because it allows access to Kramatorsk to the south without first taking Severodonetsk. In this way the escape routes from Severodonetsk to the east are cut off.
Severondonetsk has been the subject of fierce fighting for days. It is the last major city of Luhansk region still in the hands of the Ukrainian armed forces. Therefore, it is currently the main target of the Russian invasion.
Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said Thursday that it is virtually impossible to evacuate the 10,000 civilians still in Severondonetsk.
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