Russia-Ukraine War Live Updates: Fierce battle in Ukraine for Vugledar near Donetsk
Both sides claimed success in the small administrative center of apartment towers surround by flat fields, a short distance from the strategic prize of the village of Pavlivka.
“The encirclement and subsequent liberation of this city solves many problems,” said Denis Pushilin, the Moscow-appointed leader of the Donetsk region.
“Soon, Vugledar may become a new, very important success for us,” he was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
But Kyiv said the town, which had a pre-invasion population of around 15,000 people, remained contested.
“There is fierce combat there,” Ukrainian military spokesman Sergiy Cherevaty told local media.
“For many months, the military of the Russian Federation… has been trying to achieve significant success there,” he said.
Moscow’s push for Vugledar is part of its effort to seize control of the entire Donetsk region, which it has already declared a part of Russia.
The town also lies along a southern front that some think could be the focus of a possible Ukraine offensive seeking to cut through Russian-occupied territory to the Azov Sea.
Russian attacks in the Vugledar area could be “part of a series of spoiling attacks aimed at constraining possible future Ukrainian counteroffensive operations,” said the US-based Institute for the Study of War.
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