Heavy fighting in Ukraine’s Donetsk as Wagner targets village
Ukraine’s military says it repelled the attack near Blahodatne, but the Russian mercenary group says it is in control.
Ukraine’s military said its forces drove back an assault in the eastern Donetsk region after Russia’s paramilitary Wagner Group said it took control of Blahodatne village.
The forces “repelled attacks near … Blahodatne” and 13 other settlements in Donetsk, the Ukrainian military said in its daily report on Sunday.
But the Wagner Group said earlier that its units had seized the village.
“Units of Wagner PMC have taken Blahodatne. Blahodatne is under our control,” Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said.
There was no immediate confirmation from Russia’s defence ministry.
Russian troops have increased their attacks in the east of Ukraine, particularly on the towns of Vuhledar and Bakhmut. Moscow’s primary goal is to capture the eastern Donetsk region that it already declared part of Russia.
Ukraine is facing a “very tough” situation in the east and needs faster weapons supplies and new types of weaponry to withstand Russian attacks, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday.
“The situation is very tough. Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other sectors in Donetsk region – there are constant Russian attacks,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.
“Russia wants the war to drag on and exhaust our forces. So we have to make time our weapon. We have to speed up events, speed up supplies and open up new weapons options for Ukraine.”
Ukrainian authorities, meanwhile, reported at least three people were killed on Sunday after Russian shelling of residential areas in the southern city of Kherson.
According to the administration, the artillery barrage killed two men and a woman, and six others were wounded.
Civilian facilities were damaged, including a hospital, school, bus station, post office, bank and residential buildings.
While the front in southern Ukraine has been considerably quieter recently than in the east – especially since Moscow withdrew from Kherson city in November last year – the city is still subject to frequent Russian shelling.
Russian-backed authorities said on Sunday that four people were killed and five wounded after Ukrainian forces attacked a bridge in southeastern Ukraine’s Melitopol district.
Yevgeny Balitsky, the Russian-installed head of the occupied part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region, said a rocket was launched from a high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) at a railway bridge across the Molochna River in Melitopol.
“At this time, renovation work was under way at the facility. According to preliminary data, as a result of the shelling, four people from the railway brigade were killed, five were injured, they are receiving the necessary medical care,” he wrote on Telegram.
Moscow also declared the Zaporizhia region, which includes Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, part of Russia but does not fully control the entire territory.