(Reuters) – Russian forces in Ukraine’s east are attempting to advance south towards the key Ukrainian-held cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, the local region’s governor said on Thursday.
“The Lyman and Izyum fronts are the main directions in which the enemy is trying to advance in order to capture the territories of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, (their) key aims in the north of the region,” Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told a briefing.
Kramatorsk has been the de-facto capital of the Donetsk region since 2014, after the city of Donetsk was captured by Russia-backed separatists.
Kyrylenko also said 340,000 residents remained in the Ukrainian-controlled part of the region, out of a pre-war population of 1.67 million.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets, writing by Max Hunder; editing by John Stonestreet)