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22 May, 2024 10:34

Russia liberates another key Donbass stronghold – MOD

The village of Klescheevka is on high ground 10km to the south of Artyomovsk in the Donetsk People’s Republic
Russia liberates another key Donbass stronghold – MOD

Russian troops have taken full control of the strategically important village of Klescheevka in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the Defense Ministry in Moscow has announced.

In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said the settlement had been liberated as a result of “active actions” by Russia’s ‘South’ group of forces.

Battles in the area have raged since at least the spring of 2023, coinciding with fierce fighting in Artyomovsk (known in Ukraine as Bakhmut), which lies 10km to the north and was completely liberated by Russian troops in May of last year.

The Ukrainian military has described Klescheevka as an important logistical hub, located on high ground with an excellent view of nearby supply routes.

Russian Telegram channels previously shared a video purporting to show a Russian “Tsar-Grill” tank equipped with a bulky anti-drone shell driving through Klescheevka while dispersing a smoke screen. The tank appeared to be struck by a Ukrainian kamikaze drone, but seemingly remained undamaged and later reportedly returned safely to Russian positions.

Earlier on Wednesday an adviser to the head of Russia’s DPR told TASS that Ukraine had pulled most of its forces from Klescheevka. According to the official, Kiev made the move to reinforce troops at another key stronghold, Chasov Yar, a linchpin of Ukraine’s defenses in Donbass, which sits on the Seversky Donets-Donbass Canal.

Russian troops have made steady gains in recent weeks, pushing Ukrainian forces out of multiple settlements in Donbass and the border Kharkov Region.

Vadim Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, said earlier this month that he expects Russia to continue its offensive in Donbass, predicting it was “probably a matter of time” before Chasov Yar falls under Russian control.