"Unfortunately, we will have to withdraw our military. It makes no sense to stay in positions broken after many months, because the number of dead in unfortified territories may grow every day," Hayday said in a televised address.

He added: "Our defenders, who are there, have already received a command to withdraw to new positions, and to fully conduct hostilities from there."

According to Hayday, Russian attempts to infiltrate the city with sabotage and reconnaissance groups had been repelled. He added that evacuations and deliveries of military and humanitarian aid to the city were ongoing.