There is constant bloody fighting in and around a key eastern city, as Russia fights to encircle Ukrainian troops there. In the northeast, a barrage of strikes on civilians means a rising death toll, with local leaders predicting a protracted conflict.
Here are more updates from across the country:
Severodonetsk: “Hellish battles” are underway in Severodonetsk, where Russia is aiming for control, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said on Wednesday. The mayor of Severodonetsk says there are up to 8,000 people left in his city. Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday that Russia was trying to envelop the city from the north via Izyum and from the south via Popasna.
Lysychansk: The city of Lysychansk “constantly suffers from enemy fire”, Haidai of Luhansk said on Telegram. The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War says Russian forces advanced towards the city – among the few Ukrainian strongpoints in Lugansk – from the south, calling the advance a “clear setback”. for Ukraine. Russia will probably reach Lysychansk in the next few days, according to the institute’s forecast, and the city is preparing.
Kharkiv: Heavy shelling continued Wednesday in Kharkiv Oblast, the northeastern province that borders Donbass, said Oleg Synegubov, the regional governor. At least 10 civilians were killed in strikes against three villages and towns, Synegubov said, and 10 others were injured. Local leaders expect a protracted fight with troops from Moscow here as they struggle to prevent Ukrainian forces from advancing closer to the Russian border.
Southeastern Ukraine: Petro Andryushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, said large convoys of Russian military equipment were heading towards Berdyansk and Polohy in the Zaporizhzhia region of southeastern Ukraine.
The black Sea: Ukraine’s military claimed to have launched airstrikes on Russian-occupied Snake Island in the Black Sea on Tuesday, saying it had inflicted “significant casualties”. The Russian military said its air defenses “destroyed all enemy weapons” as Ukraine made “another mad attempt” to claim the island. Satellite images released by US company Maxar Technologies appear to bolster Ukraine’s claims.