Ukraine remains in control of a plant in Sievierodonetsk sheltering civilians, the Luhansk regional governor said, reported DW, quoting news agencies AFP, AP, dpa and Reuters.
Serhii Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, said Ukraine remained in control of the Azot chemical plant in Sievierodonetsk, where hundreds of civilians are said to be sheltering, despite a large fire caused by Russian shelling.
On the Telegram messaging app, Haidai said, " The information about the blockade of the Azot plant is a lie." He added, "Our forces are holding an industrial zone of Sievierodonetsk and are destroying the Russian army in the town."
By contrast, Rodion Miroshnik who represents Russian occupation authorities in Luhansk claimed civilians had begun to leave the plant. He said those who remain are "hostages."
Approximately 200 employees of the plant and 800 civilians are believed to be sheltering in underground bomb shelters at the plant.
Russia is using its overmatch in force ratio and artillery to "gradually seize territory in and around Sievierodonetsk" from Ukrainian control, the UK Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
Russia continues looking to generate more combat units to deploy to Ukraine. In recent weeks, Russia has likely started preparing to deploy the third battalion from some combat formations, the ministry said in an intelligence update, while most brigades normally only commit a maximum of two of their three battalions to operations at any one time.
Third battalions within brigades are often not fully staffed, and deploying all three of their battalions simultaneously will likely reduce longer term capacity to regenerate combat power after operations, the UK Defense Ministry said.
Sievierodonetsk is the regional capital of the eastern Luhansk region. The city is one of the last areas in the Luhansk region that is under control by Ukrainian forces.