(Reuters) – A Russian-appointed official has acknowledged that Moscow’s forces have abandoned the Ukrainian village of Robotyne, more than a week after Kyiv announced its recapture.
Yevgeny Balitsky, the top Moscow-installed official in the Zaporizhzhia region, said in a television interview that the Russian army had withdrawn for what he called tactical reasons.
“The Russian army abandoned – tactically abandoned – this settlement because staying on a bare surface when there is no way to completely dig in… doesn’t generally make sense. Therefore the Russian army moved off into the hills,” news outlet RBC quoted him as saying.
Russia has not previously acknowledged the loss of Robotyne, whose recapture was announced by Ukraine on Aug. 28. In its daily update on Tuesday, the Russian Defence Ministry said its forces had repelled two Ukrainian attacks near Robotyne.
More than 18 months after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine says it is gaining ground and has broken through Russia’s first line of fortifications in several places on the front line, despite repeated statements from Moscow that Ukraine’s three-month-old counteroffensive has been a failure.
(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Michael Perry)