Russia says it has taken the Ukrainian city of Marinka, while kyiv denies it

As it continues its offensive along the eastern front to capture more Ukrainian territory, Russia has said it has completely taken Marinka, a town destroyed by continued fighting in the Donetsk region. kyiv has denied Moscow’s claim and assures that the battle continues in this town, which has been in the crosshairs of the Russian assault for months.

“As part of the offensive actions of the units of the Southern military group, today we completely liberated the town of Marinka,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said this Monday during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, broadcast on television. public. I want to congratulate you,” Putin told Shoigu.

The town, which has been an epicenter of fighting throughout the Russian invasion, had around 10,000 inhabitants before the war and is now reduced to ruins.

Marinka is located a few kilometers southwest of the capital of Donetsk, occupied by Russian forces. “We have considerably moved the work of the (Ukrainian) artillery away from Donetsk, towards there, towards the west, which will allow us to defend Donetsk more effectively from enemy attacks today,” Shoigu stressed.

Ukrainian authorities have denied that Russia has seized Marinka and say heavy fighting for the city continues. Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesman for the Ukrainian army, has said it is “incorrect” to claim that Marinka has been completely captured by Russian forces, adding that there are still Ukrainian soldiers inside the borders city ​​administration. Ukrainian bloggers earlier said that Ukrainian troops were holding out in a small area west of the city.

The head of the Ukrainian Army, Valeri Zaluzhni, has said that Marinka has been “destroyed by the enemy street by street and house by house” and has assured that, to this day, his troops are still in the northern part of the city and They have prepared a defensive line near the town. “But I can say that this town no longer exists,” he added, while explaining that Russia is using the same methods as in Bakhmut.

If confirmed, the capture of Marinka is considered to be Moscow’s greatest military success since last spring, when its troops, at the hands of Wagner’s mercenaries, took over the devastated Bakhmut after a very costly battle.

On December 15, UK intelligence reported that intense fighting continued for control of Marinka and its surroundings and that Russia was likely to have further reduced “the small pockets of territory under Ukrainian control” that remained within the borders. from the city.

The same assessment said that a likely Russian objective was to secure roads to advance west to the city of Kurákhove, while noting that, despite its gradual advances, it remained highly unlikely that Moscow would make a “major breakthrough.” and significant” from an operational point of view in this sector.

Ukrainian forces have now gone on the defensive on multiple fronts after their failed summer counteroffensive against Moscow’s intricate defenses. Russian forces have launched offensive operations in the east and are gaining some ground. Another focus where the Russian Army is trying to put pressure is Avdivka, which it is trying to surround. Like Marinka, Avdivka is also located in the vicinity of Donetsk and is currently the scene of a tough battle.

Ukraine attacks Russian ship in Crimea

At the same time, Ukraine has reported that it has destroyed another large Russian ship, the ‘Novocherkassk’, in an attack on the port of Feodosia, on the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014.

At least one person has died and four others have been injured in the attack on the Crimean port, according to Russian media. Images that have circulated on Telegram show strong explosions and fires in a port area.

“This time, the large landing ship ‘Novocherkassk’ follows the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, the ‘Moskvá’, which was sunk in April 2022,” the commander wrote on his Telegram channel. of the Ukrainian Air Force, Lieutenant General Mikola Oleschuk.

The military man has celebrated that the Russian fleet is “ever smaller” and has thanked the Air Force pilots and everyone involved in the operation. British Defense Minister Grant Shapps said on X (formerly Twitter) that 20% of the Russian Black Sea fleet has been destroyed in the last four months.

The Ukrainian Air Force has indicated that the attack occurred around 02:30 local time when tactical aviation “attacked the large landing ship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation “Novocherkassk” with cruise missiles in the Feodosia region. ”, in eastern Crimea.

The Russian Defense Ministry has acknowledged in a statement the Ukrainian attack in Feodosia, which “caused damage to the landing ship ‘Novocherkassk’.”

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