Ukraine: Footage shows explosion of Russian ammunition depot
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The aftermath of a reported Ukrainian artillery strike on a depot holding ammunition for Russia’s troops in the Donbas has been captured on video. The artillery attack, claimed by Ukraine’s military would be a humiliating blow to Vladimir Putin’s attempts to break through Ukrainian defences in the strategically vital region as the war in the country drags on amid bitter fighting.
In the footage, dense black columns of smoke can be seen rising from the destroyed depot.
Multiple fires can be seen raging throughout the area that was targeted by Ukrainian shells.
Secondary explosions can be seen as suspected Russian ammo is destroyed by flames.
Artillery has played a central role in the battle in Donbas with both sides attempting to grind down their opponent from a distance.
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Three months into its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has abandoned its assault on the capital Kyiv and is trying to consolidate control of the industrial eastern Donbas region, where it has backed a separatist revolt since 2014.
Advancing Russian forces have come closer to surrounding Ukrainian troops in the east, briefly seizing positions on the last highway out of a crucial pair of Ukrainian-held cities before being beaten back, a Ukrainian official said on Thursday.
Thousands of troops are attacking from three sides to try to encircle Ukrainian forces in Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. If the two cities straddling the Siverskiy Donets river fell, nearly all of the Donbas province of Luhansk would be under Russian control.
“Russia has the advantage, but we are doing everything we can,” said General Oleksiy Gromov, deputy chief of the main operations department of Ukraine’s general staff.
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Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said around 50 Russian soldiers had reached the highway and “managed to gain a foothold”, even setting up a checkpoint.
“The checkpoint was broken, they were thrown back … the Russian army does not control the route now, but they are shelling it,” he said. It was possible Ukrainian troops would leave “one settlement, maybe two. We need to win the war, not the battle,” he said.
“It is clear that our boys are slowly retreating to more fortified positions – we need to hold back this horde,” Gaidai added.
Western military analysts see the battle for the two cities as a potential turning point in the war, now that Russia has redefined its principal objective as capturing the east.
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Russia’s recent gains in the Donbas follow the surrender of Ukraine’s garrison in Mariupol last week, and suggest a shift in momentum after weeks in which Ukrainian forces had advanced near Kharkiv in the northeast.
“Recent Russian gains offer a sobering check on expectations for the near term,” tweeted defence analyst Michael Kofman, director of Russian studies at the U.S.-based CNA think-tank.
Russian troops have broken through Ukrainian lines at Popasna, south of Sievierodonetsk, and are threatening to encircle Ukrainian forces, he wrote.
Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Vadym Denisenko told a briefing 25 Russian battalions were attempting to surround the Ukrainian forces.
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