Russia has seized control of three settlements in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, its Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
“As a result of the attacks of the Russian troops, the settlements of Andriyivka, Bilogorivka and Pershe Travnya of the Donetsk People’s Republic were completely liberated,” the ministry said in a statement.
Clashes for the control of Vodyane settlement continued, it added.
In a televised address on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had described the situation at the front as “difficult.”
“Despite extremely big Russian losses, the occupiers are still trying to advance in the Donetsk region, gain a foothold in the Luhansk region, move in the Kharkiv region,” he said. “But we are holding out and – most importantly – do not allow the enemy to fulfill their intentions.”
Donetsk and Luhansk together comprise the Russian-speaking Donbas region, which has remained a focus of Moscow’s ongoing “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Just before launching its war in late February, Moscow recognized both territories as “independent people’s republics.”
Donetsk is also one of the four regions Russia annexed after “sham” referendums in September. The other three are Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.