After two months of slow progress in its long-anticipated counteroffensive, Ukraine announced on Wednesday that it recaptured the village of Urozhaine in the southeastern Donetsk region. The liberation of the town came after several days of intense fighting.
“Urozhaine liberated…Our defenders are entrenched on the outskirts,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar wrote on the Telegram social messaging app on Wednesday.
Video of the fighting in and around the village, as well as the aftermath that was recorded by units of the 35th Separate Brigade of Marine Corps, was shared on social media by Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en).
Slow progress, but still progress
This is the first village Kyiv’s forces have taken since July 27, as it has faced stiff resistance, and Ukrainian forces have had to slug through heavily defensive lines largely without any air support. It is also about five miles north of the first defensive positions of Russia’s so-called Surovikin Line – a network of fortifications that have been under construction since late last year, and named after the Kremlin’s General Sergey Surovikin, who oversaw a consolidation of Russian-occupied Ukraine during his stint commanding the invasion force.
Ukraine has already incurred staggering losses as it has attempted to break through Russia’s fortified positions, but it remains unclear whether the Kremlin actually has the defense in depth to stop a significant breakthrough.
Urozhaine is of several rural settlements near the Mokri Yaly River. It had a prewar population of around 1,000 residents. As with much of the settlements in the region it has largely been destroyed while its residents have fled.
The recapture of the rural community could allow the Ukrainian military to liberate the village of Staromlynivka, located several kilometers to the south. Reuters reported that military analysts see that settlement as a Russian stronghold in the area. In addition, Urozhaine is just over 90 km (55 miles) from the Sea of Azov, and a breakthrough to the sea would cut Russia’s occupying forces essentially in half.
The capture of the village also comes after Kyiv essentially rejected the notion that its troops were not advancing fast enough or that its offensive had already failed.
“The task of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is not to organize large-scale battles for every settlement on the way to the 1991 borders, but to systematically destroy the capabilities of the enemy army: its logistics, technical potential, officers and personnel. And today, Ukrainian defenders are coping with this task one hundred percent,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Monday via a post on X, adding, “Long-range missiles for Ukraine now mean a sharp reduction in Russia’s combat capabilities. This is the active destruction of Russia’s reserves and resources on the far outskirts.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense has not commented or confirmed that its forces have been driven out of the village but claimed its artillery and warplanes were attacking Ukrainian forces in the area.
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