“Our defenders managed to counterattack for a while ­– they liberated almost half of the city. However, now the situation has worsened for us again,” said Serhiy Hayday, head of the Luhansk regional military administration.

Hayday said the Russians are using “standard scorched-earth tactics,” and that evacuation of the approximately 15,000 civilians remaining in Severodonetsk is impossible because of intense fighting.

Russia has devoted a “simply incredible” number of troops and equipment to bombarding the main access road to Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, which runs between Bakhmut and Lysychansk.