Western long-range artillery would enable Ukraine to beat back Russian forces and capture Sievierodonetsk within days, a regional Ukrainian official said Thursday.
“As soon as we have long-range artillery to be able to conduct duels with Russian artillery, our special forces can clean up the city in two to three days,” Luhansk regional governor Sergiy Gaiday said in an interview distributed on his official social media channels.
Moscow’s forces are concentrating their firepower on the strategically important industrial hub as part of efforts to capture a swath of eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy late Wednesday described the battle as “one of the most difficult” since the start of the war.
Gaiday said Thursday that Ukrainian forces in the city remained “highly motivated” and that “everyone is holding their positions.”
“Russia is constantly shelling areas controlled by Ukrainians with artillery,” he added.
The US and Britain have announced they are providing Kyiv with long-range precision artillery batteries, defying warnings from Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The Luhansk region more broadly was under continued mortar, artillery and rocket attacks, the Ukrainian presidency said.
It said four people were killed and five more wounded in a Russian air strike on Toshkivka, a village around 25 kilometers south of Sievierodonetsk.
Separately on Thursday, Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said Ukrainian forces still hold the industrial zone and adjacent areas in the city of Sievierodonetsk, and the situation is “difficult but manageable.”
He also said that defense lines were holding despite intense Russian artillery fire but that it was now impossible to evacuate people from Sievierodonetsk, adding that about 10,000 civilians remained in the city.
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