Russian forces seize city of Kreminna in eastern Ukraine
KYIV, April 19 (Reuters) - Russian forces have seized the city of Kreminna in eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the city, the regional governor said on Tuesday.
Kreminna, a city of more than 18,000 people about 574 km (356 miles) southeast of the capital Kyiv, appears to be the first city captured in a new Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.
“Kreminna is under the control of the ‘Orcs’ (Russians). They have entered the city,” Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, told a briefing.
“Our defenders had to withdraw. They have entrenched themselves in new positions and continue to fight the Russian army.”
He said Russian forces had attacked “from all sides”.
“It is impossible to calculate the number of dead among the civilian population. We have official statistics – about 200 dead – but in reality there are many more, ” he said, without making clear what period the estimated death toll covered.
Russia, which launched what it calls a “special military operation” on Feb. 24, denies targeting civilians. Ukraine said on Monday the Russian forces, after regrouping, had launched a new offensive focused on eastern Ukraine.
(Reporting By Pavel Polityuuk and Aleksandar Vasovic, Editing by Timothy Heritage)