Donetsk, Mar 18 – DAN. Russia-led coalition has taken four townships under control and approached Ugledar western borders.

"Russian Armed Forces in DPR continue a successful advance towards the north. Zolotaya Niva, Novodonetskoye, Novomayorskoye and Prechistovka have been taken under control," Russia's Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

The coalition made a 16-km advance in the past day, and continues to encircle Ugledar from the west.

The battle for Mariupol is now ongoing in the city centre.

Russia started a special military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine on February 24. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the decision was made after the DPR and LPR Heads addressed him asking for help.

The Russian leader said that Moscow is not planning to occupy Ukrainian territory, the only goal is to protect people who have been continuously shelled and subjected to other forms of genocide by Ukraine for eight years. *ot