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Russia claims capture of village in Ukraine's Donetsk region

By AFP - Jun 03,2024 - Last updated at Jun 03,2024

File photo of a Soviet-era World War II monument near a destroyed cultural centre near Avdiivka, in Ukraine's Donetsk region taken on March 21 (AFP photo)

MOSCOW — Russia's defence ministry claimed on Sunday to have captured a tiny village in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, where it has been on the offensive making territorial gains.

Russian troops "have managed to liberate the village of Umanskoye in the popular republic of Donetsk", the ministry said in reference to the Ukrainian village of Umanske.

Umanske is a tiny village that had fewer than 180 inhabitants before Russia launched its military offensive in Ukraine in February 2022.

It lies about 25 kilometres to the northwest of Donetsk, which is the main city of the region and is under Russian control.

Russian Defence Minister Andrei Belousov said on Friday Russia had made advances "in all tactical directions".

Moscow's forces had seized 880 square kilometres of territory this year alone, he said.

Ukraine's outnumbered and outgunned forces have been under pressure for several months, particularly since Russia launched a new push in early May around the eastern city of Kharkiv, the second largest in Ukraine.

Russian soldiers have also been pushing hard in the east towards Pokrovsk, a city around 30 kilometres northwest of Umanske.

Kyiv hopes the imminent delivery of Western munitions it has long been waiting for will allow its troops to regain the upper hand on the battlefield.

Likewise, US President Joe Biden's decision to allow Kyiv to use American-supplied weapons to strike certain targets inside Russia has provided Ukraine with a significant boost.

Meanwhile, nine people were wounded in Ukrainian strikes on the Russian border regions of Belgorod and Kursk, the respective regional governors said on Sunday.

“Six civilians were wounded as a result of the bombardment of Shebekino town,” Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram, adding that they had been taken to hospital.

All six, five of whom were in two buses and the sixth who was on the street, were wounded by shrapnel.

Shebekino is a town of 40,000 people close to the border with Ukraine, fewer than 100 kilometres from Kharkiv.

Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, has been the target of a sustained push by Russian forces since early May.

Ukraine regularly attacks Belgorod.

Kyiv says it is targeting military sites from which Russia launches its deadly missile and drone assaults on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and towns.

Gladkov also announced on Sunday the death of a local official in an explosion that wounded three other officials, without giving any more details.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian drone attack “on a car this morning” in the Kursk region “wounded three” people, who were taken to hospital, Governor Alexei Smirnov said.

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