At least six people have been killed in Russian attacks on the city of Severodonetsk in Ukraine’s Lugansk region over the past day, the head of the regional military administration said on Saturday.
Among the dead are two people who had taken refuge in a school basement, Serhiy Hayday said, adding that three people were also injured when the Russians fired on the school.
“Two people died at the scene, three others were hospitalized. Two killed and one injured are members of the same family,” Hayday said in a statement on Telegram.
Residents of Severodonetsk had been in hiding since the start of the war, according to Hayday.
Two women were killed by Russian shelling in Lysychansk and Privillia, and a man and a woman died near their home in Severodonetsk, he said, without specifying how they died.
The Russians “have thrown all their forces and efforts into the assault on Severodonetsk and cut off the Lysychansk-Bakhmut road, so that we cannot evacuate people, deliver humanitarian aid or deliver supplies or ammunition to our defenders,” the official said. added.
Luhansk is one of two regions in Ukraine partially controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014, along with Donetsk. The last phase of the Russian invasion includes attempts to take full control of the regions.
“Fighting is currently taking place in the outskirts of Severodonetsk,” Hayday said, saying Ukrainian forces repelled 11 enemy attacks. He said Ukrainian defenders destroyed Russian tanks, artillery systems and combat vehicles in the fighting, and shot down two Russian drones.
A cooling tower at the Azot nitrogen and ammonia plant in Severodonetsk caught fire in a Russian attack, Hayday said, but the fire was extinguished and did not spread.
He said about 1,000 people were in the plant’s bomb shelters and authorities tried to provide those people with everything they needed: generators, water and humanitarian aid.
“Thank God there are not many chemicals there, because Azot was not working at full capacity, as it did in Soviet times. But anyway, there are remnants of chemicals chemicals, which are dangerous and highly explosive,” he warned.