Russians try to block city, cement gains in eastern Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces are trying to cut off the strategic city of Lysychansk in eastern Ukraine, the Luhansk regional governor said Saturday, after the relentless assault on nearby Sievierodonetsk forced Ukrainian troops to begin withdrawing. The governor said Saturday that Russian forces are attempting to blockade Lysychansk from the south. The city lies next to Sievierodonetsk, which a weeks-long Russian bombardment has reduced mostly to rubble. The two cities and surrounding areas are the last major pockets of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk province. They are the focal point of an offensive aimed at capturing all of eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and destroying the Ukrainian troops defending it.