KYIV — Ukraine on Friday said it has liberated Andriivka, a village near the decimated eastern city of Bakhmut, and made progress against Russian forces elsewhere in the Donetsk region.
“It was difficult and the situation changed very dynamically several times yesterday. But now it is confirmed that our troops captured Andriivka yesterday,” Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said in a statement Friday morning.
Andriivka is about 13 kilometers south of Bakhmut, which was destroyed earlier this year after months of brutal combat and which remains one of the hottest areas of fighting on the eastern front.
“As a result of a lightning operation, the Russian garrison of Andriivka was surrounded, cut off from the main forces, and destroyed,” the Third Separate Assault Brigade said in a statement. “The fighting continues; our units continue to consolidate in new positions,” it added.
The Ukrainian military said its troops also had some success in pushing Moscow’s forces back from Klishchiivka, a town some 9 kilometers south of Bakhmut.
It took nine months for Russian forces to capture Bakhmut and the area around it at the end of May. According to U.S. estimates, Moscow say more than 20,000 troops were killed and 60,000 wounded in taking the Donetsk salt-mining city, which was turned into ruins during the fighting.
Ukrainian forces retreated but never left the area, aiming to take over strategic heights in the nearby villages and encircle Russians in Bakhmut during the massive counteroffensive operation that started in June.
Unlike in 2022, Ukraine’s counteroffensive this year is encountering heavy Russian resistance. Ukrainian forces have had to push through heavily mined areas and numerous fortifications, slowly recapturing territory. Russian troops are storming Ukrainian positions in the Kharkiv region, aiming to disperse Ukraine’s military and retake territories Kyiv recaptured last fall.