Moscow takes two more east Ukrainian villages


Moscow on Monday claimed to have captured two more villages in eastern Ukraine, but acknowledged that tens of thousands of people in Russia’s border areas were affected by power outages caused by Kyiv’s drone attacks.

Russia has been making some advances in Ukraine against weakened and outgunned Ukrainian forces, yet over two years of fighting has also been felt in some border towns in Russia.

Following advances over the weekend, Moscow’s defence ministry said it took the Ukrainian village of Novopokrovske in the war-battered Donetsk region.

The tiny village lies in an area of the front — northwest of occupied Avdiivka — where Moscow has claimed almost every week this summer to have captured a new settlement.

Moscow also said its forces took the village of Stepova Novoselivka in the Kharkiv region, where Russia launched a renewed offensive in May.

As Russian forces pressed forward, Kyiv on Monday said it evacuated 700 residents in the past three days from Toretsk — a mining town near the front that had been relatively quiet but is now being targeted by Russian forces.

Some 5,000 people remain in the town that had a population of around 30,000 people before Moscow’s 2022 offensive.

Battles were also ongoing over the weekend for the frontline town of New York, close to Toretsk.

Kyiv said two women — aged 65 and 70 — were also killed in the frontline town of Ukrainsk.

– 240,000 without power in Russia –

In Russia, authorities said more than 200,000 people were affected by power outages and some shortages in water supplies after Ukraine attacks on the Belgorod region.

Moscow said it had downed 36 drones overnight in its western and southern regions.

President Vladimir Putin said Russia has stepped up its thrust in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region to create a buffer against Ukrainian attacks along its border, but Kyiv has kept hitting the area.

Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said a man was killed by a drone on a farm in the border village of Novaya Tavolzhanka.

The governor earlier said a four-year-old girl had been killed near the village of Novoye in the last 24 hours when the car she was in with her parents and grandparents was hit by a drone.

Regional authorities said they were working to restore power after the drone attacks, with Moscow’s energy ministry saying “around 240,000 people were affected” by the outages in the Belgorod region.

– ‘Restrictions’ –

The attacks affecting civilian life in Russia are likely to be a sensitive issue domestically and come as Russia targets Ukraine’s energy network, forcing Kyiv to introduce scheduled blackouts.

Governor Gladkov said 150 nursery schools were without power in the Belgorod region.

He said the usual number for calling ambulances was not working and listed mobile phone numbers for residents to call.

Gladkov promised to fix the situation “by the evening”.

Earlier, the mayor of the city of Belgorod announced electricity “restrictions”.

Air raid sirens were not working in areas affected by power cuts and cars with loud horns were driving through the streets to sound the alarm, said Belgorod mayor Valentin Demidov.

Traffic lights were also not functioning, while police were checking main roads, the mayor added.

The neighbouring Kursk and Voronezh regions reported similar problems.

Kursk Governor Alexei Smirnov warned of a possible “deficit of electricity capacity” after the region came under attack.

In the Voronezh region, the local government said some areas were under power restrictions to prevent damage to energy facilities, due to the overloading of the network.

Since launching its Ukraine offensive in February 2022, the Kremlin has tried to assure Russians that it will not affect life at home.

bur/bc



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