A city in the east of Ukraine ‘no longer exists’ after being completely destroyed in Russian attacks.
Volnovakha has been devastated amid the ongoing Russian invasion but fighting continues for territory to prevent an encirclement, Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Saturday.
‘In general, Volnovakha with its infrastructure as such no longer exists,’ he told Ukrainian TV channel Direct.
Mr Kyrylenko added that most of the city’s inhabitants have fled as the Russian invasion escalates. Pictures show the city largely reduced to rubble, alongside burnt out buildings and devastated residents.
Moscow said its separatist allies in the southeast had captured Volnovakha, which is north of the besieged larger city of Mariupol.
It comes after days of heavy bombardment from the air and ground. The city of 21,000 is small but strategically important and roughly the size of Truro in Cornwall.
The brutal approach is something Russia has employed before in Syria and Chechnya.
President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of waging a ‘war of annihilation’ against his people.
In a night time video address, he also accused Putin’s forces of abducting the mayor of Melitopol, a captured city in southeastern Ukraine, calling it a ‘new stage of terror.’
Russia has not commented on the fate of Mayor Ivan Fedorov, but residents in his city took to the streets to demand his release.