LVIV, Ukraine (AP) -- Sievierodonetsk, the main focus of the fighting in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks, isn't yet blocked off by Russian troops even though they control about 80% of the city and have destroyed all three bridges leading out of it, an official said Tuesday.
"There is still an opportunity for the evacuation of the wounded, communication with the Ukrainian military and local residents," Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai told The Associated Press by phone.
He acknowledged that Ukrainian forces have been pushed out to the industrial outskirts of the city because of "the scorched earth method and heavy artillery the Russians are using."
About 12,000 people remain in Sievierodonetsk, a city with a pre-war population of 100,000. More than 500 civilians are sheltering in the Azot chemical plant, which is also being relentlessly pounded by the Russians, according to Haidai.
In all, a total of 70 civilians have been evacuated from the Luhansk region over the past 24 fours, the governor said.
Two people were killed and another wounded in the Luhansk region, according to Ukrainian authorities.
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Ukraine says that its air defense system shot down two Russian cruise missiles targeting the Odesa region.
Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odesa regional military administration, thanked the country's air defense forces for striking down "two enemy" cruise missiles.
There was no independent confirmation and it was not clear if any missiles hit their targets.
Reports of overnight shelling came from other Ukrainian regions as well, with five people were wounded in the Kharkiv region.
Day after day, Russia is pounding the Donbas region of Ukraine with relentless artillery and air raids, making slow but steady progress to seize the industrial heartland of its neighbor.
With the conflict now in its fourth month, it's a high-stakes campaign that could dictate the course of the entire war.
If Russia prevails in the battle of Donbas, it will mean that Ukraine loses not only land but perhaps the bulk of its most capable military forces, opening the way for Moscow to grab more territory and dictate its terms to Kyiv.
A Russian failure could lay the grounds for a Ukrainian counteroffensive -- and possibly lead to political upheaval for the Kremlin.