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Several settlements south and southeast of the city of Lysychansk are currently under increased fire by Russian forces, Ukrainian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzianyk said at a briefing Friday. 

“The hottest sectors of the front are the settlements in the southern and southeastern directions from Severodonetsk. The enemy has significantly increased the number of air strikes,” Motuzianyk told journalists. “As a result of the strikes on Lysychansk, a large number of buildings were destroyed in the surrounding settlements.”

“The settlements of Borivske, Verkhniokamenka, Mykolaivka and Bila Hora are under fire,” Motuzianyk added.

The remarks highlight the ground Russian forces have gained in the past few days, with all the settlements in close distance to the strategic axis of Lysychansk-Severodonetsk. 

“[Russia] is trying to establish full control over Severodonetsk, conducts offensive operations to try to surround our troops in the area of ​​Lysychansk and to block the main logistics routes,” Motuzianyk said. “Heavy fighting continues; the enemy is trying to entrench in the areas of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka.”

Motuzianyk also said Ukrainian forces had been able to repel a Russian offensive in Borivske.

Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw from Severodonetsk, the head of the Luhansk regional military administration said earlier.

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