Ukraine army withdraws from part of Chasiv Yar as Moscow forces inch closer

Ukraine army withdraws from part of Chasiv Yar as Moscow forces inch closer

Ukraine’s army was forced to retreat from key positions on Thursday as Russia inched closer.

A military spokesperson said Ukraine’s army was forced to retreat from the outskirts of Chasiv Yar, a strategically important town in the eastern Donetsk region that has been reduced to rubble after months of Russian shelling.

For months, Russian forces have focused on capturing Chasiv Yar.

It is strategically located on an elevated location, and its fall would put nearby cities in jeopardy, compromise critical Ukrainian supply routes and bring Russia closer to seizing the Donetsk region.

Ukraine's defensive position was “destroyed,” according to a Ukrainian military spokesperson, Nazar Voloshyn. He also said there was a serious threat of casualties if troops remained in the area.

Months of Russian artillery strikes have devastated Chasiv Yar, leaving homes and offices charred. The town, which once had a population of 12,000, has been deserted.

Oleh Shriaiev, a battalion commander based in the area, said Russian troops there outnumber Ukrainian forces 10-1.

He also said Russia has carried out nearly 1,300 strikes, fired nearly 130 glide bombs and made 44 ground assaults in the past week alone.

At a Central Asian summit in Kazakhstan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia cannot agree to a ceasefire because it is not sure of Kyiv's response.

"We cannot allow the enemy to use this ceasefire to improve its situation, to arm itself, to complete its army with the help of forced mobilisation and to be ready to continue the armed conflict."

He said any ceasefire is Ukraine would not be possible without clear, irreversible agreements and that there was no possibility of concluding agreements on Ukraine through mediators.

Zelenskyy issues awards to police

Meanwhile, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with law enforcement officers in Kyiv to present them with state awards on Ukraine's National Police Day.

“Units of the National Police of Ukraine, together with all other components of the Defense and Security Forces, protect Ukraine in battles against the occupier, and ensure normality of life in Ukrainian communities,” Zelenskyy said on Thursday.

He described how the police force helped evacuate people from front-line towns and aided those under Russian fire, commending their efforts.

“Police officers always arrive at the sites of hits by Russian missiles and drones, they are always among the first to provide assistance to absolutely all victims.”

The “White Angels” unit of the Ukrainian police force has saved over 10,000 families and almost 2,500 Ukrainians from dangerous areas near the front line, according to the Ukrainian President’s press office.