Russia says it has gained control of Ukrainian city Izyum
The Russian military has claimed to have taken control of the Ukrainian city of Izyum, according to reports from Moscow-controlled media outlet RIA-Novosti, reports CNN.
Ukraine, however, has denied this claim, and Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi’s adviser Lyudmyla Dolhonovska told CNN that the battle against Russian invasion and takeover of Izyum is “still going on.”
Izyum lies on a main road between Kharkiv and the Russian separatists areas of Luhansk and Donetsk in the east of Ukraine, notes CNN.
The city has had a blockade on communication since intense battles for control of the city began last week.
The first documented images and videos of the damage in the battle for Izyum have begun to be released, depicting shelled buildings, bodies left out in the street and mass destruction, CNN reported.
On Thursday, a Ukrainian official alleged that 402,000 Ukrainians were taken to Russia against their will, including 84,000 children, to be used as hostages.
Russia reported a similar number of Ukrainians who went to Russia but claimed that the Ukrainian citizens had gone voluntarily.
The news from Izyum follows a Saturday statement from the Mariupol City Council that thousands of residents of the city have been taken to Russia against their wills.
Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said of the forced relocation, “What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who saw the horrific events of World War II, when the Nazis forcibly captured people.”