On Tuesday, Russia announced the capture of a village located on the northern outskirts of Bakhmut city. The country is making a major effort to surround the city with the goal of gaining its biggest victory in Ukraine since the summer of last year.
Kyiv did not immediately respond to Russia’s claim about the capture of the village of Blahodatne, and Reuters was unable to independently verify the situation. This announcement follows three days after the leader of Russia’s Wagner Group stated that the mercenary force had taken control of the village, although Kyiv reported that they had successfully repulsed the attack.
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According to a statement from Moscow’s defense ministry, the village of Blahodatne, located on one of the main roads leading to Bakhmut about 5 km (3 miles) to the north, was captured with the assistance of air support.
In recent weeks, Moscow has been making gradual advances in the region, including the capture of Soledar, a salt-mining town located to the north of Bakhmut.
If Moscow succeeds in forcing Ukraine to retreat from Bakhmut, which once had a population of 75,000, it would mark its first significant victory since the capture of the similarly-sized cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in July.
According to regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko, two civilians, a boy and a 70-year-old man, were killed in a Russian artillery attack on Tuesday during the conflict for Bakhmut. Four additional individuals were injured in the attack, he stated.