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Russia Ukraine conflict

Ukraine forces ordered to retreat from Sievierodonetsk, says governor

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Ukraine's forces will have to retreat from Sievierodonetsk, a regional governor said Friday, after weeks of fierce fighting against the Russians in the battleground eastern city.

“Ukrainian armed forces will have to retreat from Sievierodonetsk. They have received an order to do so,” Sergiy Gaiday, governor of Luhansk region which includes the city, said on Telegram.

“Remaining in positions that have been relentlessly shelled for months just doesn’t make sense.”

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The city has been “nearly turned to rubble” by continual bombardment, he said.

“All critical infrastructure has been destroyed. Ninety percent of the city is damaged, 80 percent (of) houses will have to be demolished,” he said.

Capturing Sievierodonetsk in the Donbas area has been a key goal of the Russians as they seek to seize a swath of eastern Ukraine.

Gaiday said that Russian forces had also pushed deeper toward a key transit artery in Donbas, capturing a nearby village and consolidating gains as Kyiv’s troops were to withdraw from Sievierodonetsk.

“Mykolayivka is lost,” Gaiday said in comments posted on Telegram, referring to a village with an estimated pre-war population of around 2,000 people, around 25 kilometers (16 miles) south ofSievierodonetsk’s sister city Lysychansk.

It is just the latest in a series of creeping Russian gains south of the twin cities, as Moscow’s army looks to encircle them.

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