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The ‘life and death’ bridge at the heart of Russian firepower

The 'life and death' bridge at the heart of Russian firepower 2

The ‘life and death’ bridge at the heart of Russian firepower

People in the surrounding area said it had been mined.

But on June 17, Zhyvaga decided to wake up at dawn, climb a ladder and cross the bridge that is considered the most dangerous river crossing in the world at this time.

Svitlana Zhyvaga, 54 years old, lives in Lysychansk, on June 17 crossed one of the destroyed bridges still used by civilians to get in and out of Sievierodonetsk.

The Zhyvaga bridge that must be crossed is about 76 meters long, spanning the Siversky Donets river, the boundary between Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, two cities that have been considered the navels of Russian firepower in eastern Ukraine for many weeks.

In recent days, three bridges connecting the two cities have been destroyed, including the bridge that Zhyvaga had to cross.

Russian forces have made progress south of Severodonetsk, causing Ukraine to urgently send reinforcements to prevent the risk of encirclement.

The number of casualties among soldiers and civilians in both places is unknown.

But none of that became a problem for Zhyvaga.

Zhyvaga also seemed unaware of the risks awaiting her in Severodonetsk.

A New York Times reporter told Zhyvaga that most of the city is now controlled by the Russian military.

The bridges connecting the two cities have life and death significance.

Although the Ukrainian army is said to have installed a pontoon bridge across the river for evacuation purposes, Ukrainian units in both cities are gradually falling into a situation of isolation like their comrades in

The 'life and death' bridge at the heart of Russian firepower

Zhyvaga walks on the bridge over the Siversky Donets river.

Local officials estimate that about 500 civilians, along with an unknown number of soldiers, are holed up at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk’s industrial zone.

`Evacuation from the factory is possible only under the condition of a complete ceasefire,` Lugansk governor Serhiy Gaidai wrote on Telegram.

`This is the last remaining bridge between the two cities,` said Oleksandr Voronenko, 46, a military police officer stationed in Lysychansk.

Devastated by Russian artillery shells, the bridge now resembles a pile of rubble, as if some invisible hand had tried to pry it out of the ground but only made it halfway.

The surrounding riverbank is full of bomb craters.

The 'life and death' bridge at the heart of Russian firepower

Zhyvaga passed through the ruins at midday without any problems.

`No one stopped me,` said Zhyvaga, standing on the shore towards the city of Lysychansk.

Zhyvaga did not know whether he had contact with Ukrainian or Russian soldiers, only that they spoke Russian.

The 11km journey to Severodonetsk has become a hot topic of discussion in the residential area around the Sodovyi bridge in Lysychansk’s Chervona district.

These bombardments destroyed and damaged almost all buildings and structures within a radius of one kilometer around the bridge.

She decided not to evacuate because she had nowhere to go.

`Who knows if it’s Russian or Ukrainian,` said Oleksandr, a man who lives on Trudova Street, a few hundred meters from Sodovyi Bridge.

But `there is still a break from 12:00 to 14:00,` said Valentyna, another resident.

In the short hours between shelling, residents near Sodovyi Bridge focused on daily activities and how to survive, rather than talking about who would emerge victorious from the war.

Ukraine’s battlefield situation.

`You know, I just want a normal life,` Zhyvaga said, holding a bag of apples and potatoes after a trip to Severodonetsk.

`Everything is a question for me,` she added.

Vu Hoang (According to NY Times)

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