Zelensky sacks senior Ukrainian commander in eastern Donbass area

Kiev, Feb 27, (dpa/GNA) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, dismissed a top army commander in the eastern Donbass in a decree, although no reason was given.

Eduard Moskalyov is no longer commander of the joint forces, according to the decree issues late on Sunday night.

Moskalyov has held the post since March 2022, shortly after the Kremlin launched its full invasion of Ukraine a year ago.

The move comes amid heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine, particularly near Bakhmut, a town of strategic importance in the Donetsk region which has been contested for weeks.

Ukraine seeks to carry out an offensive in the coming months, to liberate some of the territories occupied by Russian troops in the east and south of the country.

Among those areas is Mariupol, where Russian commanders are likely to be concerned about a series of blasts at military sites, according to the latest update by British defence analysts.

There were 14 explosions there since the start of February, including at an ammunition depot, two fuel depots and a steel plant used as a military base, they said.

“Russia will likely be concerned that unexplained explosions, are occurring in a zone it had probably previously assessed as beyond the range of routine Ukrainian strike capabilities,” according to the update.

Mariupol is 80 kilometres behind the front lines, the analysts said.

Although widely devasted earlier in the war, Mariupol is important to Russia because it is the largest city Russia captured in 2022 that it still controls, and sits on a key logistics route, the monitors said.