Russian troops advance in Donbass – Defense Ministry
The Russian military reported new advances in the north of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on Wednesday. Multiple locations have been liberated on the outskirts of the town of Bakhmut, a major stronghold held by Ukrainian forces, which has seen intense fighting in recent weeks.
"On the Donetsk axis, the settlements of Belogorovka and Pershe Travnya of the Donetsk People’s Republic were completely liberated during offensive actions [by] Russian troops," the Defense Ministry said in its daily briefing, adding that "up to 50 Ukrainian servicemen, four armored combat vehicles, three self-propelled artillery units and six soft vehicles were destroyed."
The village of Belogorovka is a small settlement located some 20 kilometers northeast of Bakhmut. The second settlement mentioned in the briefing is, presumably, the village of Ozaryanovka, located about 12 kilometers south of the town. It was known by the name Pershe Travnya before 2016, but was then renamed under Kiev's ‘decommunization’ efforts.
Later in the day, the Defense Ministry announced the liberation of Andreevka, a village five kilometers north of Ozaryanovka. The acting head of DPR, Denis Pushilin, said that troops have entered the adjacent village of Kurdyumovka. The settlements are located on an important supply route, crucial for the Ukrainian garrison of Bakhmut, he explained, referring to the town by its pre-‘decommunization’ name – Artemovsk.
"These settlements are extremely important because, after sweeping up Kurdyumovka, where the enemy is still resisting, [the troops] will reach the Artemovsk highway, severing the supply routes of the primary Ukrainian battlegroup," Pushilin told broadcaster Rossiya-24.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and "create powerful armed forces."
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.