As the Kremlin pushed for victory in the Donbas region, Russian soldiers closed off the last routes for evacuating civilians from the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, according to a Ukrainian official.
The last bridge into the city has been demolished, resulting in the entrapment of any remaining inhabitants and the impossibility of delivering humanitarian aid, according to regional governor Sergei Gaidai, who added that approximately 70 percent of the city was under Russian control.
Ukraine has filed increasingly urgent requests for additional Western heavy weapons to protect Sievierodonetsk, which, according to Kyiv, may hold the key to the battle for the eastern Donbas region and the fate of the four-month-old war.
President Volodymyr Zelensky stated late Monday that the struggle for eastern Donbas would be one of the bloodiest in European history. Russian separatists lay claim to the territory, including Luhansk's and Donetsk's provinces.
"The cost of this struggle is really expensive for us. It is simply terrifying "he said.
Only a sufficient amount of modern weaponry for Ukraine will guarantee our advantage; we remind our allies daily.
Russia's primary objective is to protect Donetsk and Luhansk, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday, in response to a request from the head of one of the separatist territories for the extra Russian military.
In addition to other heavy weapons, Ukraine needs 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks, and 1,000 drones, said Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak on Monday.
Moscow released a series of recent allegations claiming it had damaged the U.S. and European military assets.
The Russian defense ministry reported that high-precision air-launched missiles had struck near the Udachne railway station north of Donetsk, destroying equipment provided to Ukrainian forces.
Sunday night into Monday am, Ukraine's interior ministry announced on Telegram that Udachne had been struck by a Russian airstrike but did not specify if any weapons had been targeted.
Moscow has criticized the United States and other countries for delivering weaponry to Ukraine and has vowed to hit additional targets if the West provides long-range missiles.
The European Commission will suggest that Ukraine be granted official EU candidate status, Politico reported late Monday, citing anonymous officials.
Saturday, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU executive's response to Ukraine's membership application would be completed by the end of this week.
Eduard Basurin, a pro-Moscow separatist spokesperson, was quoted by the Russian news agency RIA as saying that Ukrainian troops in Sievierodonetsk were virtually blockaded and should submit or perish.
Damien Magrou, the spokesman for the International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine, which has forces in Sievierodonsk, stated that the scenario posed a risk of resembling Mariupol, "with a large pocket of Ukrainian defenders cut off from the rest of the Ukrainian troops."
Hundreds of civilians and severely injured Ukrainian soldiers were besieged for weeks in the Azovstal steelworks during the collapse of Mariupol last month.
Russia has denied targeting civilians in what it deems a "special operation" to restore security in Russia and "denazify" its neighbor.
According to Ukraine and its Western supporters, this is a bogus excuse for an invasion that has murdered thousands of people and stoked fears of a more significant conflict in Europe.
More than five million people have fled their homes, and the world is experiencing a food and energy crisis, causing divisions among Western governments over how to respond.
Moscow focused on strengthening authority in the Donbas, where pro-Russian rebels have held territory since 2014, after failing to seize the Ukrainian capital Kyiv following the invasion on February 24. Russia has also attempted to grab parts of the Black Sea coastline of Ukraine.
"The entire front is being subjected to constant shelling," Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Monday evening on Ukrainian television.
In the coal-producing belt, he said the towns of Maryinka, Krasnohorivka, and Vuhledar were affected, as was Avdiivka, home to a large cooking facility.
A six-year-old child was among those killed in the most recent shelling of Lysychansk, according to Gaidai.
According to officials from the Russian-backed separatist-controlled Donetsk area, at least three people, including a toddler, were killed, and 18 were injured when Ukrainian shelling hit a market in Donetsk city.
Donetsk News Agency images depicted many bodies on the ground and burning stalls at the significant Maisky market. According to a news service, artillery shells with a NATO-standard 155-millimeter caliber struck areas of the region on Monday.
Reuters was unable to confirm the claims independently.
Valya, a resident of Bakhmut, Donetsk, observed the ruins of an apartment building that, according to local authorities, had been struck by an air attack.
"We went to bed, being elderly as we are. And then abruptly... Terrifying, see what occurred! "She stated, Nothing positive is happening here.