The devastated Donbass city, however, has yet to be demined, Denis Pushilin has said A Russian serviceman of the 55th motorized rifle brigade of the Central Military District patrols an area amid Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in the city of Avdeevka near Donetsk, Donetsk People’s Republic, Russia. © Sputnik/Stanislav Krasilnikov

Moscow’s forces have completely cleared the strategic Donbass city of Avdeevka of Ukrainian troops, the head of Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, has announced. He added, however, that the area remains dangerous.

Speaking to Russia’s Channel 1 on Monday, Pushilin said that Moscow’s forces have already swept through many facilities. “Considering that our units have already moved further… Avdeevka has been cleared.”

The DPR head cautioned that while there are no more Ukrainian soldiers in the area, “this does not mean that [the city] has been demined and that there are no dangers.”

Pushilin said Russian specialists will develop a plan to restore the city, which is home to Europe’s largest coke and chemical plant, after it was severely damaged in the fighting. He noted that the planning can begin once the area is cleared of mines and the rubble is removed.

“Then the final decision will be made at the federal level. But I can say that all the conditions are in place for restoring the city,” Pushilin added.

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Russian troops captured Avdeevka earlier this month after weeks of fierce fighting. According to Moscow, the Ukrainian retreat turned into a disorganized rout with heavy losses. Russian defense officials also say the military captured around 200 Ukrainian soldiers during the clean-up operation in the city.

Avdeevka has been on the front line since 2014, when hostilities first erupted in Donbass following the Western-backed coup in Kiev. The city was frequently used as a launching ground for artillery attacks on Donetsk, many of which targeted civilians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the capture of Avdeevka as a success, saying it now needs to be expanded upon. On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed earlier media reports that Moscow’s forces had liberated the village of Lastochkino several kilometers west of Avdeevka. (RT)