Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 22.09.2018
Dozens more families were liberated from Russian occupation in eastern Ukraine on Friday. The Ukrainian army has taken full control of Vil’nyy hamlet in Luhansk region. This settlement – whose name literally means “Free” – is part of Zolote-4 village, and was in the so-called “grey zone” on the battlefront where the Russian Federation is invading Ukraine.
On September 21, Ukraine’s 5 Channel broadcast news and footage of the operation, calling it “hot news from the front.” The Joint Forces Operation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine planned the operation for almost three days, but its execution took less than half an hour. Russian forces were ousted quickly from Vil’nyy hamlet with no casualties reported.
Recently, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have been deploying reconnaissance and sabotage groups to the hamlet. They were opening fire on Ukrainian defenders and civilians in Zolote-4 from abandoned houses in Vil’nyy.
The hamlet of Vil’nyy is the last part of Zolote-4 to be taken under complete control by the Ukrainian army. In an operation concluded successfully on July 1, the Joint Forces took full control of the part of Zolote-4 called “Rodina.” They shifted its status from being in the “grey zone” to being an integral part of free Ukraine.
The Vil’nyy section of Zolote-4 settlement is five kilometres south of Route 66, the so-called “Bakhmut Road.” This highway is a direct route to the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk. The Russian army has been waging a months-long and fruitless battle to overwhelm Ukrainian defences of the Bakhmut Road, particularly at Krymske on the Siverskyi Donets River. With full operational control of Vil’nyy, the Ukrainian army has secured the front to a greater depth of over a kilometre in the southern defences of the Bakhmut Road.
After four years of living in no-man’s-land and being subjected to the predations of the foreign invaders from Muscovy and their local terrorist proxies, all of the inhabitants of Zolote-4 – including the families in Vil’nyy hamlet – are once again at home in free Ukraine.