Russian forces cut off Ukraine’s Chernihiv city, mayor says

Ukrainian authorities said on Friday Russian forces had effectively surrounded the northern city of Chernihiv and were bombarding areas where residents were stuck without electricity, heating and water.

Chernihiv’s mayor, Vladyslav Atroshenko, said bombing had destroyed a bridge linking the city to Ukraine’s capital to the south, severing the main route for humanitarian aid and the evacuation of wounded people.

Reuters could not confirm the accounts from Chernihiv, which lies near the border with Belarus.

Russia’s defence ministry earlier said its forces had “blocked” Ukrainian cities, including Chernihiv, to tie down the Ukrainian military while Russia focused on taking control of the eastern Donbass region.

“(We are) being essentially completely surrounded and having a humanitarian catastrophe,” Atroshenko said on television. “People are without water, without heat, without electricity … people realise that the worst is yet to come.”

Moscow has regularly denied targeting civilians since it invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a “special military operation”.

The mayor said bombing had destroyed more than half of the private homes on the outskirts of the city, which had a population of around 285,000 before the conflict and is famous for its historical buildings and ancient churches.

City authorities had resorted to delivering water to districts in whatever containers they could find, while residents had to cook on open fires outside their homes, Atroshenko added. “The city is completely destroyed,” he said.

Natalya Vakula, aged 44, who was injured during shelling in Chernihiv.Credit:

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