Russian forces appear to have occupied most of Severodonetsk, the last remaining stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the eastern Luhansk region. The development has prompted the US to provide more military assistance to Ukraine.
Britain's Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday that fighting intensified in the streets of Severodonetsk on May 30 and 31, with Russian forces pushing closer to the city center.
On Wednesday, Governor Serhiy Haidai of the Luhansk region said on social media that as much as 70 percent of the city is controlled by Russian forces, and that Ukrainian forces are waiting for arms from the West.
US government officials on Tuesday announced 700 million dollars in additional military assistance to Ukraine. The aid includes the advanced High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, which the US had not yet provided. The system is expected to enable Ukrainian forces to strike targets more precisely.
The US officials said the system can launch rockets with a range of about 80 kilometers under the current plan. They added that Ukraine has given assurance that it will not fire rockets into Russian territory.
President Joe Biden said in an essay published in the New York Times on Tuesday, "We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders."
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told a Russian news agency that the US move is unprecedented and dangerous. He added that continuous supply of arms to Ukraine could increase the risk of direct military confrontation between the US and Russia.