Ukrainian forces have reported the recapture of three villages in the Donetsk region in the partially Russian-held east of the country.
First, the Ukrainian army declared that Ukrainian soldiers had “liberated” the village of Blahodatne. Less than three hours later, the Ukrainian border guards announced that they had recaptured the town of Neskuchne: “The Ukrainian flag is flying again” over the town. In the evening, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar finally declared that the town of Makarivka, near Blahodatne, was also in Ukrainian hands again.
The troops released a video showing the raising of the Ukrainian flag on top of a half-ruined building. Prisoners were also taken, it said.
Russia speaks of “grey zones”
The Russian side did not confirm the alleged recapture. The Moscow-appointed governor of the neighboring region of Zaporizhia, Vladimir Rogov, explained on Telegram that Blahodatne, like two villages in Zaporizhia, is in a “grey zone” in which it is unclear who is in control there. Another village in Donetsk was recaptured by Russian troops after a short time. “The situation is evolving,” Rogov wrote. “No special occurrences.” The Russian army has been claiming for days that it is repelling the Ukrainian offensive.
On the part of Ukraine, these are the first reported recaptures of towns in months. Previously, Kiev only announced that it had recaptured a few hundred square meters on the outskirts of the city of Bakhmut, which had been fought over for months.
Maljar: Russian units withdrawn
The Russian troops had also withdrawn combat units from the Kherson region in order to strengthen contingents in other parts of the front, for example in the Zaporizhia region and in Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, said Deputy Minister Maljar.
She said once again that Russia deliberately destroyed the Kakhovka dam on Tuesday in order to flood the Kherson region and make it impassable to the Ukrainian offensive. Moscow’s aim was to free up its own forces for other missions in this way. However, the flood that followed the dam rupture also destroyed Russian defenses. Russia claims Ukrainian forces destroyed the dam with rocket fire.