The Russian military on Tuesday claimed to have captured the village of Blagodatne north of the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut that has been the epicentre of heavy fighting.
The defence ministry said that “as a result of successful offensive actions” its forces “liberated the settlement of Blagodatne of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” using Moscow’s term for the eastern Donetsk region.
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Blagodatne lies near Soledar, a salt-mining town that Russian forces have recently captured, and on a highway leading towards Bakhmut.
Russia has been seeking to seize Bakhmut for months in some of the heaviest fighting since President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine in February last year.
Over the weekend Russia’s private military group Wagner claimed its units were in control of Blagodatne, but Kyiv denied the claim at the time, saying it repelled Russian attacks on the settlement.