KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — As part of a multi-pronged counteroffensive, Ukrainian forces have recaptured a village in the country’s east after intense battles with Russian troops, the country's military said Friday.
The village of Andriivka — about 10 kilometers (6 miles) south of the Russia-occupied town of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region — is the latest gain for Kyiv in a counteroffensive that has seen slow but steady gains by Ukrainian forces.
The announcement of reclaiming Andriivka came early Friday from the General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces.
The 3rd Assault Brigade said it captured the village after surrounding the Russian garrison in Andriivka in what it described as a “lightning operation” and destroying it over two days. It described the capture of Andriivka as a breakthrough on the southern flank of Bakhmut and “key to success in all further directions.”
Just hours before confirming the capture of Andriivka early Friday, the brigade contested a statement by Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar saying the village was reclaimed.
“It was difficult and yesterday’s situation changed very dynamically several times,” said Maliar.
The fighting in and around Bakhmut, a salt-mining town now in complete ruins, marked the war’s longest and bloodiest.
After Russian forces led by the Wagner Group military contractor captured Bakhmut in May, Ukrainian forces sought to envelop it from the south and the north, gaining ground meter by meter (yard by yard) in the past three months.
Andriivka is located between the settlements of Kurdiumivka and the heights of Klischiivka in the Donetsk region, where fighting has been especially intense. Ukraine's General Staff said Ukrainian forces also inflicted heavy losses on Russian troops as part of it’s offensive in nearby Klishchiivka village.
Maliar said that Ukraine had regained 50 square kilometres (19 square miles) of land around Bakhmut since the start of the counteroffensive in June.