Ukraine captured strategic town Klishchiivka near Bakhmut as Russian soldiers flee

Russia is in danger of losing a strategic town near Bakhmut that could allow Ukraine’s forces to mount an assault on the city, according to reports.

Kyiv said that its forces were on the attack around Klishchiivka, south of Bakhmut, amid reports that Moscow’s forces had withdrawn from the village entirely.

“We have left Klishchiivka,” said Alexander Sladkov, a veteran Russian war correspondent embedded with Moscow’s troops, warning that nearby Bakhmut could soon be “under control of Ukrainian artillery”.

He quoted his sources among Russian troops in the area saying that the soldiers were lacking ammunition and had to retreat.

“The city of Bakhmut is under threat. Will we keep it?” he said.

Capturing Klishchiivka, which sits on a major road leading from southern Ukraine to Bakhmut, would be an important gain for Ukraine as it would cut off a key supply route for the Russian army occupying the city.

Andriy Kovalyov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian General Staff, confirmed his country’s troops were advancing in the area but stopped short of confirming Ukraine had captured the village.

Mr Kovalyov said that the operations were “partially successful around Klishchiivka and were holding on to the new positions”.

“The enemy is putting up fierce resistance, calling up reinforcements and sustaining heavy losses,” he said.

Russia’s defence ministry made no mention of the assault on the village in its daily briefing. Yan Gagin, a senior separatist official in Donetsk, told Russian television on Wednesday that the village was still under the Kremlin’s control.

Roman Svitan, a retired Ukrainian military pilot, told Ukraine’s Radio NV that its troops had captured the high ground over Klishchiivka, which had forced the Russian troops to retreat.

“As soon as we clean up this territory, we can pull in our artillery there and it will be able to control Bakhmut from the south,” he said.

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