The city of Severodonetsk, in eastern Ukraine, has been surrounded for months by Russian troops trying to control the Lugansk region.

“It’s hell,” says Sergue Gaiday, governor of the Lugansk region, where the city is located. “For four months, all our positions have been under attack – and I want to emphasize this – from all the weapons that the Russian army has.”

There are hundreds of civilian refugees at the Azot chemical plant who cannot leave due to the fighting. Evacuation would only be possible if “a high-level agreement” for a ceasefire was reached.

Despite this, surrender is not an option, assures Sergue Gaiday on social media, quoted by the AFP news agency. The Ukrainian army maintains its positions and will “hold for as long as necessary”.

Russian forces also attempted to encircle the nearby town of Lysychansk (only separated from Severodonetsk by the Donets River) which remains under Kiev’s control.

The city is being “heavily bombed with large-caliber weapons”, and has already suffered “colossal destruction”.

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