Serhii Haidai, head of the Lugansk regional military administration, said 80% of the territory in his region was under Russian control. If Ukraine does not resist, the official said: “Russia will certainly not stop there and go further.
Speaking to CNN’s Becky Anderson from an undisclosed location, Haidai agreed with the Russian characterization that the second phase of the war has begun, but warned it was not yet a “full invasion.” and total”.
“They (the Russians) are definitely spreading a lot,” he said. “We have established our defenses in many towns. They’re trying to surround our troops, there’s a lot of bad business going on there… but they haven’t had any success so far. We do well to destroy their equipment.
Haidai added, “We have a very serious situation here. The entire territory of Lugansk is bombed. There is no safe city… We understand that the Russian government will go ahead and will destroy everything in its path. So what we’re doing is trying to evacuate everyone as much as possible.
The official called on the remaining civilians to leave the eastern region of Ukraine as the fighting intensifies. He said that of the 350,000 people who lived in the Ukrainian territory of Luhansk before the war, about 70,000 remain today.
“Most people left on their own or using our national buses or our volunteers. We don’t know when the humanitarian corridors will be in place, but we are evacuating every day. The fact is that Russia always violates agreements. The shelling, despite the quiet hours, continues,” he added.
Haidai went on to say that the shelling was going on “unabated” in the area, which destroyed the power grid and all water supplies. Of the remaining 70,000 people, most live in bunkers, cellars and shelters.
“This is the second month we’ve had all these people basically living underground,” he said. “We’re trying to provide them with some kind of help, trying to provide them with sanitation and water and making sure they starve… there’s hardly any stable gas supply, so the situation is quite desperate,” he added.
Asked to compare the situation in Luhansk to the beleaguered city of Mariupol – which has faced a similar fate for weeks – Haidai said: “For us, at least, we can get the aid through and we can still evacuate people. . But the shelling continues every day until nightfall, and in this respect it is very similar to Mariupol.
The military governor called on the West to provide more military equipment to help them defend Ukrainian heaven and earth.
“We need aviation, air defense equipment, lots of UAVs from the United States, and long-range precision heavy artillery,” he said. “I think recent events have shown that the much lauded Russian military is really not up to snuff, not what we thought, so I think it’s possible for the Ukrainian armed forces, provided that they get this type of equipment, to beat them.”
When asked how he envisioned the end of the war, Haidai told CNN there was a likelihood of a cessation of hostilities through a political agreement, but added that he believed that it was difficult to trust the Russians.
“They lie all the time,” he said. “Everybody knows that. Nobody believes them. Everybody knows that a deal with Russia isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Russia is the enemy of the whole world today, not just of Ukraine Their ambitions have spread far beyond Ukraine.