It represents Kyiv’s biggest setback on the battlefield for over a month following some of the most intense and bloodiest fighting of the war so far. Ukraine has described its retreat as a “tactical withdrawal” as its forces have opted to fight on higher ground in Lysychansk.
According to pro-Russian separatists Russian forces are now attacking Lysychansk, which is located on the opposite bank of the Siverskyi Donets river.
The capture of Sievierodonetsk is Russia’s biggest victory since the capture of the port city of Mariupol.
Once a city of 100,000, Sievierodonetsk is now a wasteland.
Moscow’s victory shows that it now has the initiative in eastern Ukraine where it’s superior firepower is showing.
Russia will be hoping to seize even more territory while Ukraine will be hoping that Russian forces will be exhausted after such intense fighting.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed that his country would recapture cities that it has lost control of in a video address while acknowledging the emotional toll of the war.
He said: “We don’t have a sense of how long it will last, how many more blows, losses and efforts will be needed before we see victory is on the horizon.”
Speaking on Ukrainian television Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk admitted that Russia now controlled the city.
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“Given the conditions, holding the defence in the ruins and open fields is no longer possible.
“So the Ukrainian forces are leaving for higher ground to continue the defence operations.”
Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had established full control over Sievierodonetsk as well as the nearby town of Borivske.
However Russian news agency Tass reported that there is still some residual shelling from Ukrainian forces in the area.
Oleksiy Arestovych, senior advisor to Zelensky also said that some Ukrainian special forces were still in Sievierodonetsk directing artillery fire.