City Of Sievierodonetsk Is On Fire As Fighting Wreaks Havoc

The precariousness of the Ukrainian position is obvious from the high ground across the river from the contested city of Sievierodonetsk.

The city is ablaze. The boom of cannon continues to rumble as the smoke rises. In the distance, the clatter of small-arms fire from urban street fighting can be heard. As mortars, artillery, and rockets pound their position in Lysychansk, the twin city of Sievierodonetsk, Ukrainian forces race from bunkers to cellars, seeking protection.

City Under Fire

A war of attrition looks like this: both sides are attempting to keep their resolve while inflicting as much suffering as they can. And, while there may be a need to withdraw from certain locations, Ukrainian officials have recently stated that the battle for the twin cities could prove decisive in the conflict for the eastern region known as Donbas.

“The fate of our Donbas is being decided there in various ways,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an evening message to Ukraine on Wednesday.

Dead Cities

While fierce fighting has raged for months along essentially the same front lines in eastern Ukraine, with Russia making limited gains, both the Ukrainians and the Russians have been placing an increasing symbolic importance on a battle for control over what Mr. Zelensky referred to as “dead cities,” which are mostly empty of people and ravaged by weeks of Russian bombardment.

In the present stage of the war, Russia has redirected the majority of its combat forces in Ukraine to the east, where it is using its heavy artillery advantage to obliterate towns and villages and drive out Ukrainians before marching into the ruins.