Ukraine's Sievierodonetsk falls to Russia

STORY: After weeks of bloody battle, Russian forces have taken the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk.

Ukraine called its retreat from the city a "tactical withdrawal" to fight from higher ground in Lysychansk - now a focus of Moscow's attack, according to pro-Russian separatists.

Once home to more than 100,000 people, Sievierodonetsk is now a wasteland - its fall Russia's biggest victory since capturing Mariupol last month.

Ukraine's military intelligence chief told Reuters that Ukraine was carrying out "a tactical regrouping" by pulling its forces out of Sievierodonetsk to higher ground across the river. He said Russia's tactic is to wipe the city from the face of the earth.

CHIEF KYRYLO BUDANOV: "Given the conditions, holding the defense in the ruins and open fields is no longer possible. So the Ukrainian forces are leaving for higher ground to continue the defense operations."

On Saturday, civilians in the region boarded buses and trains, fleeing the violence as the city fell.

One woman called the situation in Lysychansk "a horror", thanking the soldiers who rescued her, and saying otherwise she would have died.

As Europe's biggest land conflict since World War Two entered its fifth month, Russian missiles also rained down on western, northern and southern parts of the country.

In Donestsk Saturday, relatives mourned a woman they say was killed in her apartment by a shell fragment. Neighbors said her body was in pieces as it was carried out.

Russia has denied targeting civilians.

Thousands have been killed and millions uprooted since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops over the border on Feb. 24, stoking an energy and food crisis that is shaking the global economy.

In a Saturday night address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine would win back all the cities it had lost to Russia, including Sievierodonetsk.

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