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Ukraine claims retaking town, eyes gains in south

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KYIV: Ukraine said on Monday its troops had liberated the south-eastern settlement of Robotyne and were trying to push further south in their counteroffensive against Russian forces.

The Ukrainian military said last week that its forces had raised the national flag in the strategic settlement, but were still carrying out mopping-up operations.

Ukrainian forces believe they have broken through the most difficult line of Russian defences in the south and that they will now start advancing more quickly, a commander who led troops into Robotyne said last week.

“Robotyne has been liberated,” Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar was quoted as saying by the military. The settlement is 10 km (six miles) south of the frontline town of Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region on an important road towards Tokmak, a Russian-occupied road and rail hub.

Tokmak’s capture would be a milestone as Ukrainian troops press southwards towards the Sea of Azov in a military drive that is intended to split Russian forces following Moscow’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Ukraine’s defence ministry posted a video on social media platform X of soldiers describing the liberation and raising the flag in the settlement.

“Mr President, commander-in-chief, the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region has been liberated from the occupiers by the forces of the 47th Mechanised Brigade and adjacent units,” a Ukrainian soldier said in the video.

“The blue and yellow flag will be raised in every Ukrainian village,” the soldier said.

Russia has not confirmed the Ukrainian advance. In its statement, Russia’s de­fence ministry said Moscow’s troops had repelled attacks by Kyiv’s forces near Robotyne and Verbove. A military spokesman told Ukrainian television Kyiv’s forces were continuing to fortify their positions in the settlement.

“Stabilisation measures, demining and preparations for further actions are underway,” Oleksandr Shtupun said.

A minister told Ukrainian television earlier that Kyiv’s troops, who began their counteroffensive in early June, were now moving southeast of Robotyne and south of nearby Mala Tokma­chka.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2023

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