Ukrainian forces withdraw from strategic eastern town: Military

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Ukraine’s military said on Thursday its troops had pulled back from part of Chasiv Yar in the eastern Donetsk region, a day after Russia said its forces had taken control of a district in the strategic town.

Chasiv Yar stands on high ground. If they establish full control over the town, Russian forces could potentially use it as a staging post to advance westwards towards the Ukrainian cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

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Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday its forces had taken control of the “Novyi” district, which lies to the west of Siverskyi Donets-Donbas canal that runs through the eastern part of the town.

“It became impractical to hold the canal neighborhood after the enemy entered it, because it threatened the lives and health of our servicemen and the positions of our defenders were destroyed,” military spokesman Nazar Voloshyn told Ukrainian television.

“The command decided to pull back to more protected and prepared positions, but even there the enemy does not stop its active combat actions,” he said.

Russia’s forces, which launched their full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, have been slowly advancing in the Donetsk region for several weeks and tried to open a new front near the northeastern city of Kharkiv.

The advance in the Kharkiv region was halted, but Ukrainian military analysts acknowledge that 2024 has been a tough year for Ukraine on the battlefield and that delays in receiving US military aid have had an impact.

The Ukrainian military said in a daily update that there had been more than 161 combat clashes in the last 24 hours, most of them in the Donetsk region.

It said its troops had prevented Russian forces breaking through Ukrainian defenses on the Kramatorsk front, which includes areas near Chasiv Yar.

In the past week, the Ukrainian military have also reported intensifying fighting on Toretsk front in the Donetsk region. Voloshyn said Russian forces had attacked 114 times there in the past week compared to 31 attacks during the week before that.

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