Ukrainian forces largely control key eastern route, Kyiv says



Oct 28 (Reuters) – Ukrainian troops largely control a key road that connects two Russian-occupied districts in the east of the country, pro-Kyiv officials said on Friday.

After taking swaths of territory in a lightning offensive, Ukrainian forces are now slowly moving east into the Lugansk region and aiming to seize the Russian-occupied towns of Svatove and Kreminna, which lie 45 km (28 miles) south of Svatove. Cities are the main agglomerations of the districts of the same name.

“The road from Svatove to Kreminna is practically under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces. Our soldiers are advancing daily,” Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Lugansk region, told state television.

A Russian-backed separatist official reported on Wednesday heavy fighting in the Kreminna and Svatove districts, which have been on the front lines since Ukrainian forces routed Russian troops from the neighboring Kharkiv region in September.

Separately, Ukraine’s military intelligence leadership said its agents, fighting alongside regular troops, captured the village of Nevske on Sunday, killing 34 Russians. Nevske is 10 km (6 miles) west of the road connecting Svatove and Kreminna.

A daily report from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces makes no mention of either Svatove or the Kreminna. The update, posted on Facebook, said Russian forces shelled dozens of targets along much of the front line.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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