Grinding artillery battle continues, as sides slug it out in Severodonetsk.

Ukrainian regular troops and volunteer units backed by artillery were slugging it out with Russian attackers, as fighting in the battleground city of Severodonetsk wore on with no clear end in sight, news agencies and official sources reported Tuesday, June 7.

Oleksandr Stryuk, head of the Severodonetsk city defense administration, said in a June 7 statement that much of the firing was in the form of duels between Russian Federation (RF) and Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) artillery, followed by close-range infantry firefights over control of city blocks or even individual buildings.

Both RF and UAF commands in recent days reportedly threw fresh troops into the sometimes bitter urban fighting.


Petro Kuzyk, commander of a UAF national guard battalion recently deployed to Severodonetsk, in a video made public on June 6, called the street fighting he and his men experienced “a nightmarish kind of (the first-person shooter computer game) Counterstrike”.

“It was like that at the beginning of the assault, when the Russkies (RF troops) attacked the city. They are throwing new personnel at us, and the situation is complicated…but no-one here plans to run, we will stay and fight to the last,” Kuzyk said.

According to Ukrainian media reports, a mixed force of RF regular army troops, Wagner Group mercenaries and Ukrainian civilians drafted by force into militia make up the Kremlin’s assault forces in Severodonetsk.

Petro Lakiychuk, an analyst for the Kyiv-headquartered Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI” think tank, said that the latest reinforcements were a special forces infantry unit from the RF army central command, arriving in Severodonetsk earlier this week.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in comments televised on the evening of Monday, June 6 that UAF forces in Severodonetsk are under heavy pressure, were currently were under orders to hold their positions, but that they were suffering losses and might be obliged to retreat to new fortified positions in the adjacent city of Lysychansk.


He said he and the UAF high command want to hold the city if it all possible because, if the Ukrainian army has to retreat, it will pay “five times the price in casualties” when the time comes to take Severodonetsk back.

Yuriy Butusov, a high-profile Ukrainian journalist with a long record of accurate combat reporting, said in a Facebook post from Severodonetsk on Sunday, June 5 that recent Ukrainian government claims of holding half of Severodonetsk are inaccurate, that UAF troops are fighting hard, but that artillery and air support to them is limited, and that the Ukrainian public should be told the truth.

Serhiy Haidai, head of the Luhansk regional defense administration, in comments televised on Monday, June 6, accused Butusov of playing “gotcha” journalism, and misrepresenting a changed tactical situation on the ground, and a now-outdated government description of the situation, as purported proof that the government is lying.

“The situation there (in Severodonetsk) is extremely dynamic, things are changing from hour to hour,” he said. As many as 12,000 civilians are still in the city, without access to water, electricity, or safe routes to escape, he added.


Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) said in a statement on the morning of Tuesday, June 7 that RF forces were pressing hardest at Severodonetsk, in the center of the Donbas front. A strong secondary attack was developing, the situation estimate said, some 60 km to the west around Svyatohirsk, a town containing two tactically-important bridges over the Siviersky Donets River.

Fighting flared up around Svyatohirsk in late May.

According to a statement made on Sunday, June 5, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional defense administration, RF artillery fire badly damaged the Svyatohirsk Lavra Monastery, an Orthodox Christian edifice founded in the early 16th century, which belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Moscow Branch.

The pro-Russia Readovka news platform said that RF forces on Monday, June 6 captured the monastery and high ground around it dominating the Siviersky Donets River.

The agency predicted that Moscow’s troops will move south from Svyatohirsk and capture the town of Slovyansk.

The AGS statement said UAF forces have occupied prepared positions to the north of Slovyansk and were the RF to attempt to ford the river and attack southwards, their troops would meet strong resistance.

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