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The civilians are mostly trapped in Sievierodonetsk, in the middle of one of the deadliest battles of the Ukrainian war.

Russia has no control over the city, he said, and hand-to-hand fighting is taking place. At the same time, Russian forces continue to destroy villages around the city, Mr. Heidaei said.

“The destruction of the residential sector is catastrophic,” he said. Townspeople have reported running out of food and clean water – scenes similar to those in Mariupol and many other towns and cities along the Eastern Front over the past four months.

Another 60,000 civilians are still believed to be living in Lysichansk under Ukrainian control. But Russia’s continued bombardment of the area as Russia tries to blockade Ukrainian forces there has made any large-scale evacuation a very difficult offer.

More than 50,000 to 60,000 artillery shells fired daily by Russia are concentrated in the last Ukrainian-controlled part of Luhansk Oblast.

The type of convoy required for large-scale evacuation is likely to require coordination between Russia and Ukraine under the supervision of international mediators. There has been no public suggestion that such a plan is being considered. In Lysichansk, volunteers evacuate dozens of civilians daily with a mix of vehicles.

Russia’s top military commander, Valery Zalozhny, said in a statement that Russia was focusing its efforts on the fight. In addition to incessant artillery shelling, he said, Moscow is conducting air strikes and using multiple missile launchers to erase everything in its path. Russian forces are trying to advance on nine separate fronts from the north, east and south.


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