Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives for a press conference in Kyiv. File photo
Ukrainian forces struggled to hold their ground in bloody street-to-street fighting in the eastern frontline city of Sievierodonetsk as President Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation was difficult, also pledging to retake Russia’s gains.
The days-long battle for the industrial city has emerged as pivotal, with Russia focusing its offensive might in the hope of achieving one of its stated aims — to fully capture surrounding Luhansk province on behalf of Russian-speaking separatists.
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Fierce street fighting in Ukraine’s Sievierodonetsk
“We have to achieve a full deoccupation of our entire territory,” Zelensky said by video link at an event hosted by Britain’s Financial Times newspaper on Tuesday.
Asked about comments by France’s Emmanuel Macron that it was important not to “humiliate” Moscow, interpreted in Ukraine as implying some demands must be accepted, Zelensky said: “We are not going to humiliate anyone, we are going to respond in kind.”
The governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Gaidai, said the defenders were finding it hard to repel Russian attacks in the centre of Sievierodonetsk.
Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk, and Popasna remain the most difficult places, Zelensky said late on Tuesday.