Russia-Ukraine war live updates: U.S. hopes arms surge will sap Putin’s will; Lysychansk ‘under heavy enemy fire’

As a brutal artillery battle for control of eastern Ukraine rages, many civilians are trapped in surrounding cities with dwindling options to escape, while the West is rushing arms shipments in support of Kyiv. This week, Germany promised to deliver 15 Gepard antiaircraft guns in July, France pledged six more howitzers, and the United States offered an additional $1 billion in military aid. But Ukrainian defense officials have repeatedly stressed that they have received only 10 to 15 percent of the arms they need to repel the Russian invasion.

Here are updates from across the country:

Severodonetsk: About 10,000 civilians are trapped in the largest city in the Luhansk region, making it difficult for the United Nations to provide humanitarian support and evacuation help, U.N. crisis coordinator Amin Awad told France 24 on Friday. “Severodonetsk is already a Mariupol,” he said, referencing the battered southern coastal city that fell into Russian hands in May. It would take an agreement by both Russia and Ukraine to cease fire to allow the United Nations to assist civilians stuck in the crosshairs of battle, he added. Russian forces are continuing their ground assaults in and around this strategic eastern city but have not taken control of it, according to U.S. military analysts. The regional governor told CNN that more than 560 people remain trapped inside the city’s Azot chemical plant, 38 of whom are children. Evacuation is impossible given the intense Russian shelling, he added.

Lysychansk: At least four people were killed by two Russian airstrikes in this city, a local official said Thursday. Lysychansk neighbors Severodonetsk and is likely to be Russia’s next military target. The city is preparing for street fighting as Russian troops continue to bombard Severodonetsk, just across a river.

Kharkiv area: Russian forces are continuing to mount ground assaults northeast of Ukraine’s second-largest city to push Ukrainian troops away from occupied frontiers near the Russian border, the Institute for the Study of War reported. The Washington-based think tank added Thursday that no significant territory has changed hands.

Snake Island: The United States confirmed a Ukrainian claim to have struck a Russian tugboat. “The tugboat of the Black Sea Fleet ‘Vasiliy Bekh’ was hit in the Black Sea during the transportation of ammunition, weapons and personnel of the Black Sea Fleet to Snake Island,” the Ukrainian navy tweeted Friday. Satellite images show Russia continues to fortify Snake Island to secure its defenses in the Black Sea, where a Russian naval blockade has halted Ukrainian grain exports.

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