By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Long-range Western artillery systems could help the Ukrainian military push back Russian forces and retake control of the city of Syevyerodonetsk within days, an official in eastern Ukraine said on June 9.
The United States and Britain earlier this month announced they are providing Kyiv with long-range precision artillery systems that can strike targets up to 80 kilometers away. But the delivery of the systems and the training of Ukrainian personnel is expected to take weeks.
“As soon as we have long-range artillery to be able to conduct duels with Russian artillery, our special forces can clean up the city in two to three days,” Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Hayday said in an interview distributed on his official social media channels.
Russia has been concentrating its superior artillery firepower on the strategically important industrial hub.
Hayday said that “silence in Syevyerodonetsk lasts only when guns are reloaded” and evacuation from the city “is still impossible.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has described the battle as “one of the most difficult” since the start of the war and said its outcome could determine the fate of Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas.
Hayday said Ukrainian forces in the city remained “highly motivated” and that “everyone is holding their positions.”
“Russia is constantly shelling areas controlled by Ukrainians with artillery,” he added.