Fierce fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, with Severodonetsk, a besieged city central to the Kremlin’s goal of capturing eastern Ukraine, effectively cut off after the last bridge was destroyed. The Pentagon said Tuesday that it will send additional multiple-launch rocket systems to help stave off the Russian onslaught, as Ukrainian officials have requested dozens of the systems.
Here are updates from across the country:
Severodonetsk: Street fighting is raging in this contested city and all of its bridges have been destroyed, making it difficult to get supplies in and refugees out. About 500 civilians, including 40 children, are holed up in bunkers beneath a chemical plant in the city, according to local officials. Russian military officials say they will open a humanitarian corridor on Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Moscow time, allowing civilians to evacuate to the Russian-held city of Svatove. The Russian officials have called on Ukrainian troops in the city to surrender.
Elsewhere in the Donbas region: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that there have been “no drastic changes” in the battle in Donbas over the past day. Donbas is “key to determining who will dominate” the conflict in coming weeks, he added, noting that the more losses Russia suffers there, the less power they’ll have to continue their aggression. Western military analysts say river crossings will be key in coming weeks: a major flank of the Russian front lies to the west of the Donets river, which flows through eastern Ukraine and forms a natural barrier against Moscow’s advances. Russian troops have sought to destroy bridges over the river to disrupt the flow of supplies and reinforcements to Ukrainian troops. But that has also made it harder for them to progress their own attack.
Occupied territories: Russian authorities may be accelerating plans to annex occupied areas of Ukraine and are arranging political and administrative contingencies for control of annexed territories, D.C. think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its latest battleground assessment. Russian educational authorities are apparently already referring to Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson as regions of Russia. Zelensky this week vowed to liberate all Ukrainian territories from Russia, including the cities of Mariupol, Melitopol and Kherson.
Lateshia Beachum contributed to this report.