Ukraine has liberated two important villages in the east of the country, near the destroyed town of Bakhmut.
Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, who was hailed as the man responsible for last September’s Kharkiv counteroffensive, issued a statement on Telegram announcing the liberation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka. The two villages are located on higher ground approximately 10-15 kilometers south of Bakhmut.
Syrskyi’s statement came after Kyiv confirmed the recapture of the two villages over the weekend. The general, who oversees Ukraine’s operations in the east of the country, also confirmed the destruction of three notable Russian units, namely the 72nd Motor Rifle Brigade and the 31st and 83rd Air Assault Brigades.
Syrskyi on Monday confirmed news reported by Ukraine a few days prior. “In the fighting in the Bakhmut section, some of the enemy’s best units have been crushed and have completely lost their combat power,” Syrskyi said in a statement.
Syrskyi added that Ukrainian forces were continuing their advance through Russian defensive positions, although he warned that the gains were being met with counterattacks.
Nevertheless, Syrskyi highlighted the importance of breaching Russia’s defensive lines from Bakhmut to a town approximately 25 miles south. “These settlements, at first glance small, were important elements in the enemy’s defensive line which stretched from Bakhmut to Horlivka,” Syrskyi said on Telegram.
“As a result of our troops’ successful actions, the enemy’s defensive line – which it tried to close by throwing all available reserves into battle – was breached,” he added.
A “Springboard” Moment
Illia Yevlash, press service chief for Operational Command Skhid, added on Ukrainian television that the gains marked an important moment in controlling Russian logistics used to supply forces in occupied Bakhmut.
“Now we have gained a springboard for ourselves, which in the future will allow us to continue to develop offensive operations and liberate our land from the invaders,” he said over the weekend. “In addition, this exposure of the flanks, in particular the southern flank, will allow us to further move more conveniently into the depths of the enemy’s positions and deliver more accurate and deeper strikes using various artillery systems, FPV drones and other available weapons.”
Much of the fighting has taken place near railway lines — infrastructure that Yevlash asserted was “very important” for the invading forces due to the length of their supply routes. “Everything that is further away is very difficult to provide with the logistics of the occupation army… Now there are intense fierce battles on this front, we are fighting for every meter of our land. When it is possible to finally inform the public on who controls the railway, we will definitely do so,” he added.
Russia denied the loss of Andriivka on Saturday, and the Ukrainian claims have not yet been independently verified. However, the Institute for the Study of War said it was likely that Russian forces based south of Bakhmut were “battle-weary” from their attempts to hold Klishchiivka and Andriivka.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.