(Kyiv) Ukraine denied on Monday that Russian troops were advancing, as Moscow claims, near the town of Vougledar, a new hot spot on the front in eastern Ukraine where fighting has intensified lately .
“Our units continue to advance […] Units have been established in the east of Vougledar and the work continues in the surroundings, ”said in the morning the head of the Russian occupation in the Donetsk region, Denis Pushilin, quoted by the Russian agencies.
A spokesman for the Ukrainian army in charge of this area, Yevguen Ierine, assured AFP that the Russian attacks in the area had failed.
According to him, the Ukrainian forces were able to repel the Russians using “firearms and artillery”.
“The enemy had no success and retreated. We have not lost our positions,” maintained Mr. Ierine.
For his part, Mr. Pushilin affirmed that the Ukrainian army had entrenched itself in an area which has “a large number of industrial sites and high buildings”, which facilitates defensive operations.
“We assume that the enemy will resist,” he continued.
For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense remained vague, saying that its troops “took more advantageous positions” on the outskirts of Vougledar by inflicting losses on Ukrainian forces.
Vougledar, a mining town which had 15,000 inhabitants before the Russian offensive, is located 150 kilometers south of Bakhmout, another hot spot on the eastern front that the Russian army has been trying to take for more than six months at the cost of heavy losses.
Denis Pushilin clarified on Monday that “fierce fighting” was underway near Bakhmout and that it was “too early” to talk about an encirclement of the city by Russian troops.
“Fighting is underway, we are holding the lines of defense by inflicting losses on them,” another Ukrainian military spokesman, Sergei Tcherevaty, told AFP.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that Bakhmut, Vougledar and other areas of the Donetsk region were under “constant Russian attacks”.
The Kremlin has sworn to conquer the entire Donetsk region after claiming annexation in September along with three other Ukrainian regions: Luhansk in the east, Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south.