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Russian military liberates key Donbass stronghold – Moscow

Russian troops have fully liberated Maryinka, a key town in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced on Monday.

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Maryinka – which has been legally part of Russia since last year’s referendums –was a major Ukrainian military for many years. It is located immediately to the west of the city of Donetsk.

The minister broke the news during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Today, assault units with the troop grouping South fully liberated the town of Maryinka to the southwest of Donetsk,” Shoigu stated.

The liberation of the town opens up new opportunities for Russian troops and further damages Ukraine’s military capabilities, the minister said. The town, which has been the scene of fighting for nearly a decade since the early stages of the conflict in then-Ukrainian Donbass, had been turned into a major stronghold by Kiev’s forces, Shoigu noted. An extensive network of underground tunnels and reinforced concrete bunkers was installed on almost every street, he added.

The Russian president congratulated all the troops involved “at different stages” in the struggle for Maryinka, stating that its liberation is an important milestone that will have a positive impact – pushing Ukrainian forces away from Donetsk, as well as providing Russian troops with wider operational freedom, Putin said.

READ MORE: Ukrainian shelling hits mall, kills woman in Donbass (VIDEO)

The fighting over the DPR town intensified in recent months, with Russian forces gradually seizing control of key locations. The fighting left the town heavily damaged with no structure left intact, videos from Maryinka shared online show. 

Apart from serving as a stronghold for the Ukrainian military, Maryinka has also been one of the key staging points for attacks on Donetsk itself. The city has been subjected to indiscriminate missile and artillery shelling by Ukrainian forces on an almost daily basis during the conflict.

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