Russia destroys bridge over Ukrainian river, cutting escape route

 Russian forces have blown up a bridge linking the embattled Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk to another city across the river, cutting off a possible evacuation route for civilians, local officials said on Sunday.

Sievierodonetsk has become the epicentre of the battle for control over Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas.

Parts of the city have been pulverised in some of the bloodiest fighting since the Kremlin unleashed its invasion on February 24.

Ukrainian and Russian forces were still fighting street-by-street there on Sunday, the governor of Luhansk province, Serhiy Gaidai, said.

Russian forces have taken most of the city but Ukrainian troops remain in control of an industrial area and chemical plant where hundreds of civilians are sheltering.

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But the Russians had destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Sievierodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk, Gaidai said.

That leaves just one of three bridges still standing, and reduces the number of routes that could be used to evacuate civilians or for Ukrainian troops to withdraw to positions on the western side of the river.

In Lysychansk itself, Russian shelling killed one woman and destroyed four houses and a shopping centre, Gaidai said.

The head of the Sievierodonetsk administration said a little more than a third of the city remained under the control of Ukrainian forces and about two-thirds were in Russian hands.

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