Ukraine Withdrawal Likely as Russians Advance

SEVERODONETSK - Ukrainian troops could withdraw from the big eastern city of Severodonetsk, which Russian invasion forces are close to surrounding, an official there says.

Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk, said Russians are in part of the city. "It is possible that in order not to be surrounded, they will have to leave."

Russia has made seizing the whole eastern Donbas region a key war aim. Ukraine is pleading for long-range weaponry to resist Russia's advance, but other nations have so far not offered it. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Ukraine needs long-range multiple-launch rocket systems. "I'm afraid that Putin, at great cost to himself and to the Russian military, is continuing to chew through ground in Donbas," he said. "He's continuing to make gradual, slow, but I'm afraid palpable, progress and therefore it is absolutely vital that we continue to support the Ukrainians militarily."

In Severodonetsk, Haidai said more than half the housing has been destroyed and almost all buildings there have been damaged. All remaining residents are in shelters. The road out of the city to Ukraine-held territory is under constant fire but still passable, he added.

Also on Friday, pro-Russian forces seized the town of Lyman to the west of Severodonetsk, setting the scene for an advance towards the major cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.
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