'Very fierce fighting' going on in Severodonetsk: Ukrainian leader

Russian army trying to deploy reserve forces in eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, says President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

'Very fierce fighting' going on in Severodonetsk: Ukrainian leader

The "fierce fighting" with the Russian forces has been continuing in Severodonetsk city in the eastern Luhansk region of Ukraine, the country's leader said late Sunday.

"The key tactical goal of the occupiers has not changed. They (Russian army) are pressing in Severodonetsk, where very fierce fighting is going on -- literally for every meter," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his video address on the 109th day of Russia's war on Ukraine.

He went on to say that the Russian forces are also pressing in the direction of Lysychansk, Bakhmut, and Slovyansk, among others.

"The Russian army is trying to deploy reserve forces in Donbas. But what reserves can they have now? It seems that they will try to throw into battle poorly trained conscripts and those who were gathered by covert mobilization. Russian generals see their people simply as the cannon fodder they need to gain an advantage in numbers — in manpower, in military equipment," Zelenskyy said.

He underlined that if the Russian forces keep deploying to Ukraine, Russia "can cross the line of 40,000 of its lost troops already in June."

"In no other war in many decades have they lost so much," he added.

Zelenskyy also recalled his country's call for modern missile defense systems.

"The supply of such systems was possible this year, last year, and even earlier. Did we get them? No. Do we need them? Yes. There have already been 2,606 affirmative answers to this question in the form of various Russian cruise missiles that have hit Ukrainian cities, our cities, our villages for the period from Feb. 24.

"These are lives that could have been saved, these are tragedies that could have been prevented if Ukraine had been listened to," he said.

The Ukrainian leader stressed that they "work every day" with the EU on the candidate status for Ukraine, and that Kyiv has done "everything for a positive response."

"The only question is the determination of some European leaders," he said.

Over 4,300 civilians have been killed in Ukraine, including at least 1,098 women and 102 girls, while over 14 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including more than 7.3 million that have fled to other countries, since Russia launched a war on its neighbor on Feb. 24, according to UN figures.

According to UNICEF, two children are killed every day in the war.

Around 15.7 million people in the country are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Hüseyin Demir