May 24, 2022 12:39 UTC
  •  Russia steps up operation to encircle last Ukrainian holdout in Donbas

Russian forces have intensified their military operation in eastern Ukraine to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin cities in the last Ukrainian-held pocket in the Donbas region.

Reports on Tuesday said Russian troops are advancing from three directions to encircle the city of Sievierodonetsk on the east bank of the Siverskiy Donets river and its twin Lysychansk on the west bank.

“The enemy has focused its efforts on carrying out an offensive in order to encircle Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk,” said Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk.

"The intensity of fire on Sievierodonetsk has increased by multiple times, they are simply destroying the city," he added.

Russia's defense ministry said on Tuesday that its troops struck an arms depot in Donbas that used to store shells for US-made M777 howitzers, a type of artillery weapon.

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.