Both Ukrainian and Russian forces claimed an attack on Vuhledar in the Donetsk region, as fierce fighting continued on Monday for control of the strategic town in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian troops guarding the contact line near Vuhledar “recently ‘welcome’ the occupiers and turned their brief stay on our soil into a living hell,” the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said on Monday, causing heavy losses.
CNN could not independently verify the claims.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday that Russian forces had made progress in the area.
“Units of the ‘Eastern’ forces continued their successful offensive, took a more favorable position and opened fire on units of the 1st Tank Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces near the settlement of Vuhledar in the Donetsk People’s Republic,” the ministry said.
Earlier on Monday, the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told Russian state media that Russian troops had established a stronghold east of Vuhledar.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address on Sunday evening that the situation in the region was “very serious” as “Bakhmut, Vuhledar and other areas in the Donetsk region are under constant Russian attack. “.
“There are constant attempts to break through our defenses. The enemy is numerous, and despite the high number of casualties, they are still attacking at a high intensity,” Zelensky said.
Seizing Vuhledar, a major logistics center, would help cut off Ukrainian troops from supplies and enable Russian and separatist forces to launch attacks on Ukrainian forces from multiple directions, according to separatist officials in the DPR.