Ukrainian forces have been pushed back by Russian troops into the key eastern Ukrainian cities. There is a street-by-street fight occurring which has led to the complete ruin of these cities and driven thousands of civilians from their homes. Russia wanted the war to be over before Western weapons arrived in Ukraine. The Donbas area is where Russia-backed separatists have been fighting for eight years and it provided a more limited goal for the war to end than taking over entire Ukraine. Recent fighting has focused on the town of Sievierodonetsk and it’s been described as ‘indescribably difficult.’ Russian artillery has destroyed infrastructure and damaged 90% of buildings while cutting power and communications to 100,000 people in the city.
The number of victims is rising every hour, but the wounded and the dead cannot be counted amid all of the fightings. Moscow’s troops have advanced into a few more blocks closer to the center of Donetsk. The city was destroyed by the Russian bombardment and less than 13,000 residents remain. They take refuge in basements or bunkers to avoid their brutality. This is similar to how Mariupol was besieged and led to the worst sufferings of war. We can estimate that about 1,500 innocent civilians in Mariupol have been killed since the war began. These deaths include those from Russian attacks and from the dire conditions related to limited access to food or medical care. Russian forces reinforced their positions in Sievierodonetsk, which is the last pocket of Ukrainian government control in Luhansk.