The Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) confirmed on Thursday that Ukraine's army had been forced out of the town of Novoazovsk as a result of the militia's offensive.
Ukrainian government forces lost control of Novoazovsk, which lies on the coast of the Sea of Azov, as well as several towns and villages in the Novoazovsk, Starobesheve and Amvrosiyivka districts of the Donetsk region, the NSDC said on its Twitter account.
On Wednesday, the Ukrainian army's positions on the outskirts of Novoazovsk came under Grad strikes and were then attacked by two columns, the NSDC said.
According to the NSDC, these columns consisted of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers.
"Both Russian columns entered Novoazovsk as evening approached," the council said.
The militia's armored hardware can also be seen on the outskirts of Novoazovsk, and an Uragan multiple launch rocket system was spotted near the village of Kholodne, the NSDC said. Units fighting against the Ukrainian army in the country's southeastern regions continue their offensive, it said.
Police special operations units, as well as divisions of Ukraine's Interior Ministry and State Border Guard Service were ordered to leave Novoazovsk in order to save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers, it said.
The headquarters of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DPR) said on Wednesday evening that several tanks of militia forces had approached Novoazovsk.
"Tanks of the DPR entered Novoazovsk and stopped on its western outskirts. Our offensive is proceeding successfully," the DPR headquarters said.
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