Home General News Ukraine ignores surrender ultimatum in Sievierodonetsk . city

Ukraine ignores surrender ultimatum in Sievierodonetsk . city

by Anthony L. Gonzalez

Ukraine has shown no signs of obedience to a Russian ultimatum to surrender the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk as NATO defense ministers met in Brussels to discuss how to send more heavy weapons to replenish Kyiv’s dwindling supplies.

Russia had told Ukrainian troops holed up in a chemical factory in the destroyed city to stop “useless resistance and lay down their weapons” from Wednesday morning and use its advantage in the fight for control of eastern Ukraine.

Plans announced by Moscow to open a humanitarian corridor to civilians holed up in the factory have been disrupted, said Russia-backed separatists, who blamed shelling by Ukraine.Ukraine ignores surrender ultimatum in Sievierodonetsk . city

Ukraine says more than 500 civilians are trapped alongside soldiers at the Azot chemical plant, where its forces have resisted for weeks Russian bombings and attacks that have reduced much of Sievierodonetsk to ruins.

Sievierodonetsk mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said that Russian troops tried to storm the city from different directions after the early morning deadline passed. Still, Ukrainian forces continued to defend the town and were not completely cut off.

British intelligence said the fighters in the chemical plant could survive underground, and Russian forces would likely remain focused on them, preventing them from attacking elsewhere.

Reuters could not immediately verify the battlefield reports.

According to an intelligence report, Russian forces are now in control of most of the main eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, where they have caused “extensive collateral damage”: https://t.co/Gye4N1A0Tj pic.twitter.com/A5lVIJGPSt

The Azot bombing echoes the earlier siege of the Azovstal steel mill in the southern port of Mariupol, where hundreds of fighters and civilians sheltered from Russian shelling. Those inside surrendered in mid-May and were taken into Russian custody.

The Russian attack on Sievierodonetsk – a town of just 100,000 inhabitants before the war – is currently at the center of what has been called the Battle of the Donbas.

Kyiv has said 100-200 soldiers are killed daily, with hundreds more injured in some of the bloodiest fighting since the Russian invasion of February 24.

Ukraine said on Tuesday it was still trying to evacuate civilians after Russian forces destroyed the last bridge connecting Sievierodonetsk to Lysychansk, which sits higher on the western bank of the Siverskyi Donets River.

Western countries have promised NATO-standard weapons, including advanced US missiles. But deploying them takes time, and Ukraine will need consistent Western support to switch to new stockpiles and weapons systems as stockpiles of their Soviet-era weapons and ammunition dwindle.

The meeting in Brussels on Wednesday in the margins of a NATO defense ministry is led by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. It is the third time that a group of nearly 50 countries has gathered to discuss and coordinate aid to Ukraine.

In May, the US Senate passed a bill to provide $40 billion ($A58 billion) in additional aid to Ukraine, including $15 billion ($A22 billion) for defense measures and missile systems, drones, and advanced artillery.

But Zelenskiy said Ukraine does not have enough anti-missile defense systems, adding that “delays cannot be justified”.

Russia doesn’t give firm figures on its losses, but Western countries say they have been huge as President Vladimir Putin wants to force Kyiv to relinquish complete control of the Donbas and part of southern Ukraine. Putin calls the war a special military operation against Ukrainian nationalists.

In Sievierodonetsk, momentum has shifted as Russia concentrated overwhelming artillery firepower on urban districts and dispatched troops vulnerable to counter-attacks.

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