© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sniper of Ukraine’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade takes a position during a reconnaissance mission, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near Bakhmut, Ukraine September 7, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
(Reuters) – The general in command of Ukraine’s ground forces said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had recaptured the eastern village of Klishchiivka on the southern flank of Bakhmut, which the Russians claimed control of in January.
“Klishchiivka was cleared of the Russians and liberated,” Alexander Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said in a post on the Telegram messaging app.
Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko also confirmed on Telegram that the village was recaptured in heavy fighting by the “Liut” national police united assault brigade, the 80th airborne assault brigade and the 5th assault brigade. Reuters was unable to verify the battlefield report.
Klishchiivka is around six miles (nine km) south of Bakhmut and had a pre-war population of around 400 people. It is several miles (kilometres) north of Andriivka, which was recaptured earlier this week.
Both settlements were substantially destroyed in months of fighting for Bakhmut.
The Ukrainian president’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak on Sunday published a photo on Telegram showing five Ukrainian servicemen with Ukrainian national and military flags in their hands against the background of a destroyed building.
“Ukraine always gets its own back,” Yermak wrote.
The Ukrainian military said earlier on Sunday that Kyiv’s troops “achieved success in the Klishchiivka district of the Donetsk region, forcing the enemy out of their positions.”
Bakhmut fell into Russian hands in May after months of heavy fighting. For several months now, Ukrainian forces have been conducting offensives north and south of the city in order to dislodge Russian units from it.
Ukrainian military analysts said this week the liberation of settlements near Bakhmut would allow the military to advance from the southern flank in the Bakhmut area, gaining control of the heights.