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Latest news from the Russia-Ukraine war: live updates

Ukrainian troops defending Severodonetsk will be withdrawn, while nearby Lysychansk forces risk being surrounded by Russia, according to the regional governor. Western military analysts have previously said Kyiv appeared to weigh the loss of the two strategically important cities.

Here are more updates from across the country:

Severodonetsk: Defenders who have endured four months of constant Russian bombardment in this eastern city will have to withdraw, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said on Friday. It makes no sense to keep fighters in positions that have been “ripped to pieces”, he said, adding that the death toll was rising.

Haidai said on Thursday that Russian forces had destroyed many Ukrainian defensive structures in the industrial zone of Severodonetsk, leaving Ukrainian troops holed up there to consider retreating to new positions. Russian forces were also reinforcing their lots around Severodonetsk to completely capture the city, according to the Institute for the Study of War think tank. The mayor of Severodonetsk said up to 8,000 people remained in his city.

Lysychansk: Ukrainian forces are facing the encirclement of Russian soldiers in the city ​​of Lysychansk, according to Haidai, Reuters reported. “All Lysychansk is within range of their fire. It’s very dangerous in the city,” he told state television, according to Reuters. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian forces are also strengthening their grouping in Lysychansk to increase its chances of s take it over completely.

The black Sea: Russia denies claims it laid mines in the ports of Odessa and Ochakiv after recently declassified US intelligence released reports saying otherwise, the Guardian reported. A US official told the outlet there were also indications that Russia had already exploited the Dnieper, Europe’s fourth longest river.

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