Russia asserts control of a settlement close to Bakhmut, Ukraine
A town in eastern Ukraine close to Bakhmut, where combat has been going on for months, is reportedly under Russian control.
Klishchiivka, a village in the Donetsk area of Ukraine, was taken by Russian forces, according to a combat update released by the Russian Ministry of Defence on Friday.
With the aid of artillery and aerial support, ground forces were able to take control of Klishchiivka, which had a pre-war population of roughly 400 people, according to the ministry.
Ukraine did not immediately respond with a statement.
The settlement is located about 9 kilometers (6 miles) south of Bakhmut, a strategically significant city that Russian forces have struggled to seize from Ukrainian soldiers in some of the fiercest engagements of the war with the help of mercenaries from the Wagner Group.
Before the defence ministry's announcement, both the Wagner Group and separatist forces in Donetsk fighting under the flag of the self-declared breakaway Donetsk People's Republic claimed to have taken possession of Klishchiivka.
The ministry reported that its troops had also seized control of the settlement of Lobkove in the Zaporizhia area of southern Ukraine.
Two of the four territories in Ukraine's east and south that President Vladimir Putin unilaterally annexed in September are Zaporizhia and Donetsk.
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