POKROVSK (Ukraine) — A Ukrainian regional official warned Friday about the deteriorating living conditions of Sievierodonetsk, a city that was captured by Russian forces two week ago. He said the city is without water, power, or a functioning sewage system, while the bodies of the deceased decompose inside hot apartment buildings.

Gov. Serhiy Haidai stated that the Russians were using indiscriminate artillery bombardments to try and secure their gains in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region. Moscow claimed this week full control over Luhansk but the governor and other Ukrainian officials stated that their troops still retained a small portion of the province.

Haidai stated to The Associated Press that Luhansk was not fully captured despite the Russians having engaged all of their arsenal in order to accomplish this goal. “Fierce fighting is taking place in many villages along the border of the region. To advance, the Russians rely on artillery and tanks to leave scorched earth.

He said that Russia’s forces “attack every building they believe could be a fortified location.” They are not stopped by civilians being left there, and they die in their courtyards and homes. They continue firing.

Occupied Sievierodonetsk is, however, “on the verge of an humanitarian catastrophe”, the governor posted on social media. “The Russians have destroyed all of the critical infrastructure and are unable to fix anything.”

Luhansk is among two provinces that make the Donbas. This region contains mines and factories, where pro-Moscow separatists fought Ukraine’s army over eight years. They declared independent republics which Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized prior to sending troops into Ukraine.

Putin claimed that Russian forces would be able to rest and recover after claiming full control over Luhansk. However, other areas of eastern Ukraine are still being bombarded. Russian leader warned Kyiv to accept Moscow’s terms quickly or prepare for the worst.

Putin spoke to leaders of the Kremlin-controlled Parliament Thursday, stating that “everybody should know that largely speaking we haven’t even started anything in earnest yet.”

According to Ukraine’s presidential office, at least 12 civilians died and 30 were injured by Russian shelling in the past 24 hours. Six people were killed and 21 others were wounded in the barrage that hit Donetsk, the other Donbas province.

Another four people were killed in northeast Ukraine and nine were injured in Kharkiv. This is the country’s second largest city. Residents were also affected by Russian shelling.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, said that Putin was responding to statements made by the Ukrainian government and its Western allies regarding defeating Russia on battlegrounds.

Peskov said Friday that Russia’s potential was so great that only a small portion of it has been used for the special military operation. “And so, Western statements are completely absurd and only add to the pain of the Ukrainian people.”

Other developments

The German parliament approved the requests of Sweden and Finland to join NATO with overwhelming support. Christine Lambrecht, the German Defense Minister, stated that the accession of the two countries would significantly strengthen NATO’s eastern and northern flanks. She cited their strong naval forces in Baltic Sea and their well-respected land forces who know Russia’s border region. She said that Putin’s attempts to destroy NATO and divide it had failed. She said, “He bet against our weakness.” “Now he gets to the opposite.” Before the Western military alliance can accept Finland and Sweden, all 30 member countries must agree.


Murru reported in Kyiv (Ukraine). This report was contributed by Associated Press journalists around Europe.


Follow AP’s coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine