Published On: Sun, Jan 21st, 2024

Vladimir Putin’s troops reclaim key Ukraine village in major setback for Kyiv | World | News

Russian forces have seized control of a strategically important village in eastern Ukraine, the country’s defence ministry has announced, as bitter fighting continued to grind at the beginning of 2024.

Separately, at least 25 people were killed today heavy shelling at a market on the outskirts of the occupied Ukrainian city of Donetsk, according to local officials.

The MoD announced Sunday that its forces had taken control of the village of Krokhmalne in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region.

Ukrainian forces confirmed the settlement had been occupied, but insisted its capture was a “temporary phenomenon”.

Volodymyr Fityo, spokesperson for Ukrainian Ground Forces Command, said that Kyiv’s troops had been pulled back to pre-prepared reserve positions.

He said that Krokhmalne – captured by Ukraine in Autumn, 2023 – had a population of roughly 45 people prior to the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

He was quoted by Ukrainian news outlet Hromadske as saying: “That’s five houses, probably.

“Our main goal is to save the lives of Ukraine’s defenders.”

Russian and Ukrainian forces have continued to fight from largely static positions along the roughly 930 mile 9 (1,500-kilometre) front line throughout the winter.

Recent Russian attacks have tried to find gaps in Ukraine’s defences by using large numbers of various types of missiles in an apparent effort to saturate Ukrainian air defence systems.

The massive barrages – more than 500 drones and missiles were fired between December 29 and January 2, according to officials in Kyiv – are also using up Ukraine’s weapons stockpiles.

Another 20 people were injured in the strike on the suburb of Tekstilshchik, including two children, said Denis Pushilin, head of the Russian-installed authorities in Donetsk. He said that the shells had been fired by the Ukrainian military.

Kyiv has not commented on the event and the claims could not be independently verified.

Pushilin said that the area had been hit by 155 mm caliber and 152 mm caliber artillery, and that the shells had been fired from the direction of Kurakhove and Krasnohorivka to the west. He also confirmed that emergency services continued to work at the scene.

In a statement, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the strike, which it blamed on Ukraine, as a “terrorist attack”.

It said: “These terrorist attacks by the Kyiv regime clearly demonstrate its lack of political will towards achieving peace and the settlement of this conflict by diplomatic means.”

Also today, fire broke out at a chemical transport terminal at Russia’s Ust-Luga port after two explosions, regional officials said. Local media reported that the port had been attacked by Ukrainian drones, causing a gas tank to explode.

The blaze was at a site run by Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer, Novatek, 165 kilometers southwest of St Petersburg.

In a press statement to Russian media outlet RBC, the company said that the fire was the result of an “external influence”.

It also said that it had paused operations at the port.

Yuri Zapalatsky, the head of Russia’s Kingisepp district, where the port is based, said in a statement that there were no casualties, but that the area had been placed on high alert.

News outlet Fontanka reported that two drones had been detected flying towards St Petersburg on Sunday morning, but that they were redirected towards the Kingisepp district. The Associated Press could not independently verify the reports.

The Russian Ministry of Defense did not report any drone activity in the Kingisepp area in its daily briefing. It said that four Ukrainian drones had been downed in Russia’s Smolensk region, and that two more had been shot down in the Oryol and Tula regions.

Russian officials previously confirmed that a Ukrainian drone had been shot down on the outskirts of St Petersburg on Thursday.

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