Fighting has intensified in Ukraine’s eastern territories, as Vladimir Putin’s army steps up its efforts to seize control of the Donbas. Ukrainian forces are grimly clinging on as they come under intense Russian artillery and aerial bombardment. The Russians are closing in on the city of Severedonetsk in Luhansk province and appear increasingly confident of taking the entire region under their control.
During a televised ministry meeting on Friday, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said: “The liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic is nearing completion.”
Putin’s army tried to cut off the Ukrainian defenders of Severodonetsk by crossing the Siverskyi Donets river near Belogorivka on May 11.
However, Ukrainian forces inflicted a devastating defeat on the Russians, killing over 400 soldiers and destroying numerous armoured vehicles.
On Friday Russian troops tried again, this time attempting to cross the river near the village of Dronivka.
But the Russians were once again prevented from crossing the river by Ukraine’s army.
The 30th Mechanised Brigade said they wiped out dozens of Russian armoured vehicles as they inflicted another defeat on Putin’s army.
The brigade said in a statement on Friday: “Defeat of Russian troops near the village of Dronivka, Donetsk region, during the crossing of the Siverskyi Donets River.”
The Centre for Strategic Communications (StratCom) also noted: “Russian troops tried to break through the Siverskyi Donets River near the village of Dronivka and set up three bridgeheads.
“However, the heroism and resilience of infantry, artillery, and tank units of the 30th Mechanized Brigade named after Prince Konstanty Ostrogski and other units of the Armed Forces allowed us to stop the Russian troops and inflict heavy losses on them.
“The result of the defeat: dozens of units of destroyed Russian armoured vehicles.”
The 650-mile-long Siverskyi Donets River originates in Russia and meanders southeast through the Donbas region before re-entering Russian territory.
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It comes as new images appear to show a Russian supply convoy on fire after coming under attack from Ukrainian forces.
Destroyed vehicles can be seen burning out of control, while thick black smoke billows skywards.
Social media user BlueSauron posted: “The Ukrainian Army managed to destroy a Russian convoy on its way to supply Russian/LPR forces in Luhansk Oblast.
“The Russian supply convoy was destroyed near Komyshuvakha village, Luhansk Oblast.”