Russian forces seize strategic village of Klescheevka in Donetsk

The Ukrainian military has long viewed Klescheevka as a crucial logistical hub, owing to its elevated position overlooking nearby supply routes. The settlement’s significance has made it a prime target for both sides in the conflict.

Russian forces have gained full control over the strategically vital village of Klescheevka, according to an announcement from the Russian Defence Ministry on Thursday.

The ministry’s statement declared that Klescheevka had been “liberated” as a result of “active actions” by Russia’s ‘South’ group of forces operating in the region. This victory comes after months of intense battles raging in the area since at least the spring of 2023, coinciding with the fierce fighting in the nearby city of Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine), which was fully captured by Russian troops in May of last year.

The Ukrainian military has long viewed Klescheevka as a crucial logistical hub, owing to its elevated position overlooking nearby supply routes. The settlement’s significance has made it a prime target for both sides in the conflict.

Eyewitness accounts and footage circulating on Russian Telegram channels have shed light on the intensity of the fighting in Klescheevka. One notable video purportedly showed a Russian “Tsar-Grill” tank, equipped with a bulky anti-drone shell, navigating through the village while dispersing a smoke screen. The tank appeared to be struck by a Ukrainian kamikaze drone but seemingly remained undamaged and later reportedly returned safely to Russian positions.

Earlier on Thursday, an adviser to the head of Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told the Russian state news agency TASS that Ukraine had withdrawn most of its forces from Klescheevka. According to the official, this move was made to reinforce Ukrainian troops at another key stronghold, Chasov Yar, which sits on the Seversky Donets-Donbass Canal and serves as a linchpin in Ukraine’s defences in the Donbas region.

As the conflict in eastern Ukraine continues to unfold, the seizure of Klescheevka by Russian forces represents a significant strategic gain, potentially altering the dynamics of the ongoing battle for control in the Donetsk region.