Russian forces are making little progress in eastern Ukraine and are having little difficulty bypassing the city of the same name in the Donetsk region. The Ukrainian armed forces, aided by Western weapons, are fighting fiercely around villages in the area.
Fierce fighting has been going on for some time on the outskirts of Donetsk. According to Russian and Ukrainian military reports, heavy fighting broke out in the village of Pesky during the night from Wednesday to Thursday, with the Russians already declaring a partial success.
Pisky is located near the Donetsk airport, which was virtually destroyed by the fighting there in 2014 and 2015. Since then, control of the village has been constantly shifting between Russia and Ukraine. There were reports of shelling of cities near Avdiivka, Marinka and Krasnohorivka.
The Russians are trying to drive the Ukrainians out of the suburbs to spare Donetsk. The city has been in the hands of pro-Russian separatists since 2014. According to the Russians, Donetsk is regularly bombed by the Ukrainian army and this would not be possible if the Ukrainians were driven away from the city.
Then the Russian army will also be able to advance further south in the direction of the cities of Kramatorsk and Slovyansk. Russia’s goal is to occupy the entire Donetsk region.
Russian bombing in the city of Turitsk, 70 kilometers north of Donetsk, killed eight people on Thursday, according to Governor Pavlo Kirilenko. Four people were also said to have been injured. The governor said the dead fell at a public transport station. At least five people were killed by Ukrainian artillery fire in Donetsk, according to the separatists.
Citizens urged to leave Donetsk
Last week, the Ukrainian government decided the mandatory evacuation of the entire Donets Basin. President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russian forces would not hesitate to kill civilians by bombing and shelling.
After Luhansk, the Russians also want full control of Donetsk. Referendums in those regions are scheduled for September, when citizens can vote on whether they want to join Russia. Such referendums may be a hoax, because due to Russian attacks, there are still mainly ethnic Russians and pro-Russian separatists living there. Kyiv will not recognize referendums.
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