The city of Novoazovsk has been captured by Russian troops, the commander of the 5th special Donetsk unit of the Dnipro-1 battalion Volodymyr Shypov stated on Channel 5 on Wednesday, August 27, as reported by Ukrainska Pravda.
“At present the city of Novoazovsk has been captured by Russian troops and is being blocked by tanks. Residents are prohibited from exiting. Tomorrow, according to Russian military, a cleanup of the city is planned,” he said.
Shypov noted that he received the information from one of his soldiers who is stationed at a checkpoint in Mariupol, as well as from police in Novoazovsk.
“Novoazovsk’s district department was evacuated to Mariupol. However, strange things are happening. The Mariupol police, to judge by the weapons, which are stored in one of the district offices, are not armed,” he added.
In addition, Udar party deputy Yehor Firsov reported that “green men” have shown up in the village of Sedov, which is near Novoazovsk.
New York Times correspondent in Novoazovsk, Andrew Kramer, reported that Russian troops have invaded Ukraine and that under pressure from Russian tanks, artillery and infantry, Ukrainian troops were forced to retreat from Novoazovsk on Tuesday.
According to the newspaper, a number of Western officials believe Russia’s offensive in the southeast may be part of a strategy to obtain land access to Crimea.
Earlier, Maria Antonov, a correspondent for the AFP news agency, stated on Twitter that the group of AFP journalists traveling from Novoazovsk to Donetsk through Starobyesheve did not see any sign of the Ukrainian army, only abandoned weapons.
Militants claim they have already entered the city.
“DNR tanks have entered Novoazovsk and settled in the western suburbs, The DNR forces control all three crossing points on the border between Russia and the self-proclaimed republic: Marynivka, Uspenska and Novoazovsk ,” reports the separatist website novorosinform.org.
The mayor of Novoazovsk has also confirmed the information that separatists have entered the city.
On Wednesday, August 27, the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) spokesman Andriy Lysenko stated that Novoazovsk continues to be under the control of ATO forces.
According to the National Security Council, Ukrainian soldiers are being shelled from the Ukrainian-Russian border in the 10-kilometer zone around the city. Lysenko denied information about the presence of tanks with the militant groups near Novoazovsk.
“This direction has already been reinforced with additional forces and resources. Ukrainian military are setting up additional bases and checkpoints,” he added.
Earlier, the AFP agency reported that the ATO forces supposedly had left Novoazovsk.
The city is located 15 kilometers from the Russian border and about 44 kilometers east of Mariupol, which Ukrainian troops took under control in June. This part of the Donetsk Oblast has been relatively peaceful.
At present, major battles are taking place near Ilovaisk in the Donetsk Oblast.
On Wednesday, the RNBO spokesman stated that Russian armed forces continue to move military equipment and manpower to regions near the Ukrainian border, especially to the Rostov Oblast. Several of the units have violated the Ukrainian state border and are now in Ukraine.
Ukraine and the West are accusing Russia of supplying weapons and fighters to the Donbas, Moscow denies any involvement.[hr]
Pravda, translated by Anna Mostovych