President Zelenskyy praises Ukrainian soldiers for recapturing Klishchiivka, near Bakhmut

Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Ukraine's soldiers "step by step, are returning to Ukraine what belongs to it".(Telegram: Andriy Yermak)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday his forces had recaptured an eastern village on the southern flank of Bakhmut, the city that fell into Russian hands in May after months of heavy fighting.

“Today I would like to particularly commend the soldiers who, step by step, are returning to Ukraine what belongs to it, namely in the area of Bakhmut,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address to the nation.

“Ukraine always gets its own back,” his chief of staff Andriy Yermak wrote on Telegram.

Zelenskiy thanked the successful units which he said were the 80th airborne assault brigade, the 5th assault brigade, the “glorious 95th” and a national police assault brigade. “Klischiivka,” he said. “Well done.”

Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar shared a video of Ukrainian forces displaying flags including the blue and yellow national flag with ruined buildings and the sound of ongoing fighting in the background.

Russia was still trying to regain lost positions despite the village’s liberation, she wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Today we had to fight off enemy attacks all day,” she said.

Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, also confirmed the recapture of the village, which Russia claimed control of in January, had a pre-war population of around 400, and is around six miles (nine km) south of Bakhmut.

Ilia Yevlash, the spokesperson for Ukrainian troops in the east, said the battle inflicted “powerful damage” on Russian airborne units, the “Akhmat” battalion of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Storm-Z made up of Russian criminals, the Russian General Staff’s military intelligence, and motorized rifle units.

“So, now we have gained a base that will allow us to continue to develop offensive actions and liberate our land from the invaders,” he wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

Klishchiivka is several miles (kilometers) north of Andriivka, which was recaptured earlier this week. Both settlements were substantially destroyed in months of fighting for Bakhmut.

Bakhmut fell into Russian hands in May after months of heavy fighting. For several months now, Ukrainian forces have been conducting offensives north and south of the city in order to dislodge Russian units from it.

Ukrainian military analysts said this week the liberation of settlements near Bakhmut would allow the military to advance from the southern flank in the Bakhmut area, gaining control of the heights.

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