Ukraine’s military yesterday said its forces repelled an attack in the area of Blahodatne in the eastern part of the Donetsk region, while Russia’s Wagner private military group said it took control of the village.
“Units of Ukraine’s Defence Forces repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of ... Blahodatne ... in the Donetsk region,” the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said in its daily morning report, referring to fighting on Saturday.
It added that its forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas of 13 other settlements in the Donetsk region.
The Wagner Group, designated by the US as transnational criminal organization, wrote on the Telegram messaging app on Saturday that its units had taken control of Blahodatne.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports.
With fighting heating up in Donetsk, the exact line of contact has been unclear, especially around the town of Bakhmut, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war has been taking place in the past few weeks. The Wagner Group has made premature success claims before.
Ukraine has said that the Russian offensive on Bakhmut has not culminated, but the situation along the front line there has been growingly difficult.
Four civilians were killed, one in Bakhmut, and 17 wounded in Russian attacks on the region on Saturday, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on the Telegram messaging app.
Ukraine has won promises of Western battle tanks and is seeking fighter jets to push back against Russian and pro-Moscow forces, which are slowly advancing along part of the front line.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s top aide said that expedited talks were under way between Ukraine and its allies about its requests for long-range missiles to prevent Russia from destroying Ukrainian cities.
“To drastically reduce the Russian army’s key weapon — the artillery they use today on the front lines — we need missiles that will destroy their depots,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Ukraine’s Freedom television network.
He said that on the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula there were more than 100 artillery warehouses.
“Therefore, firstly, negotiations are already under way. Secondly, negotiations are proceeding at an accelerated pace,” he said without giving details.
Zelenskiy, speaking separately, said that Ukraine wanted to pre-empt Russian attacks on Ukrainian urban areas and civilians.
“Ukraine needs long-range missiles ... to deprive the occupier of the opportunity to place its missile launchers somewhere far from the front line and destroy Ukrainian cities,” he said in an evening video address.
Zelenskiy said Ukraine needs the US-made MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System, which has a range of 297km. Washington has so far declined to provide the weapon.
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