08.06.2022, Ukraine, Sjewjerodonezk: Ein Soldat hält sein Gewehr auf einem ukrainischen Panzer während schwerer Kämpfe an der Frontlinie in Sjewjerodonezk in der Region Luhansk. Foto: Oleksandr Ratushniak/AP/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Four months after the start of the war, Ukraine has ordered the withdrawal of its troops from the embattled city of Sieverodonetsk in the east of the country. This was said by the governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hajdaj, on television on Friday. Sievjerodonetsk has so far been one of the last parts of Luhansk that has not yet been conquered by Russian and pro-Russian fighters.

“It’s a situation now where it doesn’t make sense to stay in battered positions,” Hajdaj said. The number of dead would then rise sharply. “That’s why our defenders who are there have already received orders to retreat to new positions and conduct normal, full-fledged military operations from there.” According to the governor, up to 90 percent of the houses in Sieverodonetsk have now been destroyed.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and has for weeks focused on attacks in the neighboring country’s east. The capture of the Luhansk region – as well as that of the adjacent Donetsk region – is one of Russia’s main objectives.