Russia and its allies have made more progress towards fully capturing the Donbass, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported on Tuesday. Some 15 communities were recently taken, including Svyatogorsk – the town where Ukrainian forces allegedly torched a wooden church as they retreated last week.
Svyatogorsk is located on the left bank of the Severny Donets river and is claimed by the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) as part of its territory. Last week, the Skete of All Saints, a historic wooden monastery located in the town, was torched and burned to the ground. Russia accused Ukrainian forces of deliberately setting it on fire to cover their retreat. Ukrainian officials blamed Russian troops for the incident.
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Ukrainian troops had blown up a bridge in the same area, cutting the shortest road connection between the main northern part of the settlement and the rest of the DPR territory. Svyatogorsk is located on the border between the two Donbass republics.