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Severodonetsk is a battleground for Ukraine.

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Severodonetsk is a battleground for Ukraine.

Civilians will be allowed to leave through a humanitarian corridor, despite Russia’s “Surrender” ultimatum, according to Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of Russia’s National Defense Management Centre.

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Ukraine showed no indications of complying with a Russian request to hand over the eastern city of Severodonetsk early Wednesday, as NATO military ministers met in Brussels to discuss providing more heavy weaponry to replenish Kyiv’s diminishing stockpiles.

From Wednesday morning, Russia had instructed Ukrainian forces holed up in a chemical plant in the destroyed city to quit “senseless resistance and lay down guns,” bolstering its position in the war for control of eastern Ukraine.

The head of Russia’s National Defense Management Centre, Mikhail Mizintsev, told the Interfax news agency that civilians would be allowed to leave through a humanitarian corridor.

More than 500 civilians are said to be trapped within the Azot chemical plant, where Ukrainian forces have fought weeks of Russian bombing and attacks.

“It’s getting harder, but our military is keeping back the enemy from three directions at once,” Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk area that includes Severodonetsk, wrote on his website shortly before Russia’s deadline of 8 a.m. Moscow time (0500 GMT).

“They’re protecting Severodonetsk and won’t let them advance to Lysychansk,” he claimed, referring to Ukraine’s twin city on the other side of the Siverskyi Donets river.

“However, the Russians are getting closer, and the people are suffering, and their homes are being destroyed.”

Moscow claims Luhansk as one of two eastern provinces on behalf of separatist proxies. After failing to conquer Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in March, Russia has focused its assault on the Donbas, a Ukrainian industrial region where Russia has focused its assault.

In the early morning hours, the Ukrainian general staff claimed that its fighters were still repelling Russian attacks on the city.

According to British intelligence, the fighters at the chemical factory may live underground, and Russian forces would likely remain focused on the plant, preventing them from diverting their weapons elsewhere.

The battlefield testimonies, as well as what happened after the deadline passed, were not immediately verified by Reuters.

Mariupol’s echoes

The bombardment of Azot is reminiscent of the earlier siege of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol’s southern harbor when hundreds of combatants and civilians sought refuge from Russian artillery. In mid-May, those on the inside surrendered and were taken into Russian custody.

The Russian attack on Severodonetsk, a city with a population of just over 100,000 people before the war, is the present focus of what has been dubbed the Donbas fight.

In some of the deadliest fighting since Russia’s incursion on February 24, Kyiv claims 100-200 of its soldiers are killed daily, with hundreds more wounded.

On Tuesday, Ukraine claimed it was still attempting to evacuate residents after Russian forces damaged the last bridge connecting Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, located on higher land on the western bank of the Siverskyi Donets river.

Ukrainian soldiers risk being encircled now that all of the bridges going from Severodonetsk have been destroyed.

Ukrainian soldiers risk being encircled now that all of the bridges going from Severodonetsk have been destroyed.

“We must remain steadfast… The opponent will have less strength to pursue its aggression if it suffers more losses, “In a speech delivered late Tuesday, Zelensky added.

Weapons

Ukrainian leaders have reiterated their calls for more and better artillery, tanks, drones, and other heavy weapons, from the US and its allies.

NATO-standard armaments, notably powerful US rockets, have been pledged by Western countries. However, deploying them will take time, and as stocks of Soviet-era weapons and munitions diminish, Ukraine will require ongoing Western help to shift to new supplies and weapons systems.

The discussion will take place on the fringes of a NATO defense ministerial in Brussels on Wednesday and will be led by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The group of nearly 50 countries is meeting for the third time to discuss and organize assistance for Ukraine.

Longer-range rocket systems, drones, and modern artillery have been offered by the US Senate, which passed a package in May to grant $40 billion in extra aid to Ukraine, including $15 billion for defense measures.

However, Zelensky claims that Ukraine lacks enough anti-missile defense systems to safeguard its cities and that “there can be no justification in the delays in providing them.”

‘I Can’t Get Out.’

Russia does not provide regular estimates for its losses. Still, Western countries claim they have been significant as President Vladimir Putin attempts to push Kyiv to hand over complete control of the Donbas and a large swath of southern Ukraine. Putin refers to the conflict as a “special military operation.”

Over the last three weeks, the momentum in Severodonetsk has swung numerous times, with Russia focusing its vast artillery firepower on urban districts to annihilate resistance, then sending in foot soldiers vulnerable to counter-attacks.

Ukraine said Russia plans to attack Sloviansk from the north and along a front at Bakhmut from the south in the Donbas.

Critical infrastructure in the Donetsk region, including homes, schools, hospitals, and marketplaces, has been assaulted in the last week, according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

“This has made life practically miserable for those who are already dealing with chronic water shortages and are often unable to leave their homes for days on end due to fighting,” Dujarric said.

Ukraine’s military said it carried out three air strikes in the Kherson region to the south, targeting troop concentrations, fuel stores, and military equipment.

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