Ukraine Defies Russian Ultimatum To Surrender City.
- Over hundreds of civilians are believed to be sheltering in the city’s Azot chemical plant.
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EKO HOT BLOG reports that Ukraine has resisted a Russian ultimatum to surrender the embattled eastern city of Sievierodonetsk, as fears grow over the hundreds of civilians trapped in the city’s Azot chemical factory.
Russia ordered Ukrainian forces a day earlier to stop “senseless resistance and lay down arms” from Wednesday morning, as Moscow controls 80% of Sievierodonetsk, a city that has become a focal point of Russia’s advances in the east of the country.
Moscow on Wednesday also accused Ukraine of disrupting plans to open a humanitarian corridor for civilians to leave the area.
The evacuation planned to bring civilians from the Azot plant to Svatove, a city north of Sievierodonetsk controlled by pro-Russian forces, and Ukraine had not publicly commented on Moscow’s proposal.
More than 500 civilians, including 40 children, are trapped inside the Azot factory.
Weeks of Russia’s relentless bombardment of Sievierodonetsk, including its industrial area, have reduced much of the city to rubble.
The mayor of Sievierodonetsk, Oleksandr Stryuk, told Ukrainian television on Wednesday afternoon that Russian forces were trying to “push towards the city centre”.
“This is an ongoing situation with partial successes and tactical retreats,” Stryuk said.
Meanwhile, Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, wrote on Facebook that 75 people had been evacuated from Sievierodonetsk, despite the three bridges that led out of the city being destroyed.
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“The evacuation is extremely difficult because the shelling does not subside. Police officers and volunteers were able to successfully evacuate 75 people, and all of them are safe,” he said. “We will not stop, as long as there is such an opportunity to evacuate people.”
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