Donetsk under siege: Russia now controls more than half the region
- Russia has captured 55% of cities in the Donetsk region
- Donetsk falls in the contested Donbas region in the east of Ukraine
- Russia has stepped up its attack on the Donbas over the past month
According to the Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk region military administration, only 45% of cities in the region remain under Ukrainian control, with 55% now under the control of Vladimir Putin's forces.
"It is very difficult to say the rest [of the cities/territories in Donetsk] are controlled by the enemy, because these cities are being destroyed by the enemy — they are just territories," Kyrylenko was quoted as saying by CNN.
Kyrylenko went on to say that Ukrainian forces had "serious battles ahead," with Russia intensifying its assault on the the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway in a bid to "cut off" the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk from Ukrainian supply lines.
If Russia does manage to push ahead and capture Donetsk, it would mark a major victory for Moscow, which has thus far failed to capture any of Ukraine's major cities, barring the strategic port of Mariupol that fell weeks ago after enduring months of incessant shelling.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, had encircled several major cities, including the capital Kyiv, days after making quick headways into Ukrainian territory. However, Ukrainian forces held out against Moscow's forces, eventually repelling the Russians away from major cities.
Since then, Russia has concentrated all its might on the eastern Donbas region, where two self-proclaimed republics, namely, the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, have been recognised as independent by Moscow.
However, despite Russia's intensified assaults on the Donbas, Putin's forces have thus far failed to capture both Luhansk and Donetsk, where the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk remain under siege.