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Russia says in full control of strategic town of Pisky in Donetsk

Russian soldiers patrol a street in Volnovakha in the Donetsk region. (Via AFP)

Russia says its armed forces have taken full control of a strategic town on the outskirts of Donetsk, bringing Moscow one step closer to its declared objective of “liberating” the breakaway eastern regions in Ukraine.

The town of Pisky is now under the control of the Russian forces. Fighting is still under way in the surrounding areas, Interfax cited the Russian Defense Ministry as saying on Saturday.

Russia began its "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24 to demilitarize and "de-Nazify" the country, and to "liberate" the Donbass, which is composed of the two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The Russian military says it has fully captured Luhansk and has concentrated its efforts to seize the other region.

Russian forces recently destroyed a US-supplied HIMARS rocket system near Ukraine's Kramatorsk and a depot with ammunition for the system, Interfax reported.

HIMARS is a long-range, mobile rocket system capable of hitting targets with precision. Its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, says the systems have a "recognized and proven range" of up to 300 kilometers.

Since President Vladimir Putin of Russia declared the campaign in Ukraine, the United States has been providing Kiev with military aid, including at least 16 HIMARS systems.

Russia said on Tuesday its forces had destroyed six HIMARS systems in Ukraine since the start of the war. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered Russian generals last month to prioritize destroying the long-range missiles and artillery weapons.

The ministry said at the time that the US-made weapons were being used to strike residential areas of the Russian-held Donbass and to intentionally set fire to wheat fields and grain storage silos.

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