The governor of Ukraine's eastern Lugansk region said Tuesday that the situation there was worsening "with every hour" as advancing Russian troops seize more territory and "completely destroy" a key city.
"The situation is very difficult and unfortunately it is only getting worse. It is getting worse with every day and even with every hour," governor Sergiy Gaidai said in a video on Telegram. "Shelling is increasing more and more. The Russian army has decided to completely destroy (key city) Severodonetsk."
"The city is being bombed by aviation, shelled by multiple launch rocket systems, artillery, mortars, tanks," he said.
"They are simply eliminating Severodonetsk from the earth."
He spoke as Russian forces stepped up their offensive in the last pocket of resistance around Lugansk and after Moscow claimed it was "nearing" full control of the region.
Gaidai said the Russian army was trying to break Ukrainian defence lines into Severodonetsk from "different directions."
He also said that an important highway that links the towns of Lysychansk and Bakhmut was under constant fire.
"It is really extremely dangerous to drive there," he said.
Gaidai said that while the situation was "nearly critical", Ukrainian troops are still "holding up".
"We are like Mariupol now. Putting all of our efforts here so that they (the Russians) do not go further," he said, referring to Ukraine's port city battered by Russian forces that became a symbol of fierce resistance.
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