As Russia intensified its onslaught in the Donbas, Russian troops have infiltrated the outskirts of the Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, a regional governor reported on Monday, describing the combat as "very fierce."
Governor of Luhansk Serhiy Gaidai reported that shelling killed two people and wounded five others as Russian troops pushed towards the city's south-eastern and north-eastern outskirts.
Russia's primary purpose was to capture Sievierodonetsk, the central city still under Ukrainian control in the eastern area of Luhansk.
Ukrainian forces were left defending ruins in Sievierodonetsk due to constant shelling, but their refusal to withdraw stalled a massive Russian onslaught across the Donbas region.
Since 2014, pro-Russian rebels have had partial control of the Donbas region, including the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
"Approximately 90% of structures are destroyed... More than two-thirds of the housing stock in the city has been destroyed... Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated in a televised address, "there is no communication."
Russian forces have opened fire on 46 localities in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, according to Ukrainian troops in the Donbas.
They killed at least three civilians, injured two more, and damaged or destroyed 62 civilian structures.
A truce at this time would be a disaster.
A Ukrainian soldier on patrol in trenches near the town of Bakhmut, southwest of Sievierodonetsk, expressed concern that his government could be enticed into negotiating an end to the conflict that would result in the loss of Ukrainian territory.
"You know now what I'm most afraid of, now that the fighting is so intense, so tough?" Former English language teacher Dmytro stated.
"That we would be told, 'That's it, stop it, the ceasefire is in effect.'
EU leaders encounter resistance to further sanctions
This week, European Union leaders are meeting to debate a new package of penalties against Russia, including an oil embargo.
EU states have not agreed on the sixth package of sanctions against Moscow because the planned oil embargo is unacceptable to Hungary and poses a significant difficulty for Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Ahead of the summit, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck expressed concern that EU unity was "starting to crumble," and draft conference conclusions indicated that few fresh decisions would be made.
However, EU foreign policy leader Josep Borrell stated that "there will be an agreement in the end," agreeing on the second sanctions package expected by Monday afternoon.
According to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna will meet with Mr. Zelenskyy in Kyiv to provide additional support for the country.
Russia endured "terrifying casualties,"
Having failed to capture Kyiv in the early stages of the conflict, Russia is now attempting to solidify its dominance over the Donbas, a substantial portion of which is already under the hands of Moscow-backed rebels.
The Ukrainian administration wants the West to provide more long-range missiles to help alter the tide of the four-month-old conflict. Mr. Zelenskyy said he expected "good news" in the coming days.
According to US sources, such weapon systems are being intensively considered.
Canada has requested that South Korea provide it with artillery ammunition, Seoul announced on Monday, ostensibly to "backfill" munitions that Ottawa had supplied to Ukraine.
According to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, the Russians could not encircle Sievierodonetsk. They suffered "fearful casualties" at the hands of the Ukrainian defenders.
According to a briefing paper, the Ukrainians suffered heavy casualties, both civilians and combatants.
Analysts stated that Russia's attention on Sievierodonetsk diverted resources from other battlefronts, resulting in little advances elsewhere.