Russia claims forces have taken control of village in eastern Ukraine

Defence Ministry in Moscow says troops have 'liberated' area in Donetsk

A Ukrainian serviceman prepares to fly a reconnaissance drone near Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region. AFP
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Russia's Defence Ministry on Sunday claimed its forces had taken control of another village in eastern Ukraine, as Moscow's troops press their advantage in manpower and ammunition on the battlefield.

Russian forces have made notable gains in the eastern Donetsk region in the past week, prompting rare criticism from Ukrainian military bloggers of their country's armed forces.

"As the result of active operations, the 'Centre' troop unit liberated the village of Novobakhmutivka in the Donetsk People's Republic," the ministry said in its daily battlefield briefing.

The village is about 10km north of Avdiivka, which Russia's forces captured in February after one of the bloodiest battles of the two-year conflict.

"The situation at the front has worsened," Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, said in a Facebook post Sunday.

He said Ukrainian troops had "retreated" to new defensive lines further to the west in some areas, conceding the loss of territory to the advancing Russians.

"The enemy has concentrated its main efforts in several sectors, creating a significant advantage in forces and means," he said.

Russia had secured "tactical successes in some sectors", he admitted.

Kyiv's forces are outnumbered across the battlefield, with the country struggling to recruit enough soldiers to replace those who have been killed, wounded or exhausted by the war, which is now in its third year.

Ukraine is also awaiting the arrival of billions of dollars in military aid from the US which it hopes will end months of ammunition shortages and allow it to stabilise the front lines.

But leaders in Kyiv have warned the military outlook could worsen before then.

Kyrylo Budanov, head of intelligence at Ukraine's Ministry of Defence, this month said the battlefield situation is likely to get worse for Ukraine around mid-May to early June.

The Deep State Telegram channel, close to Ukraine's armed forces, this week blamed leaders of Ukrainian units in the area for the "collapse of defences throughout the region, causing considerable losses".

Kyiv is awaiting the arrival of billions of dollars in US weapons, which it hopes will stabilise the situation on the sprawling front lines.

Russia and Ukraine are in parallel increasingly attacking each other's infrastructure in an attempt to stymie the opponent's war effort.

Russia's Defence Ministry on Sunday said the country's air defence systems had destroyed 17 drones launched by Ukraine after a Russian attack heavily damaged a hotel in Ukraine's southern city of Mykolaiv.

The ministry said three of the Ukraine-launched drones were downed over the Kaluga region, south of Moscow.

Vladislav Shapsha, regional governor of Kaluga, said the drones fell beside an oil depot near the town of Lyudinovo. “There were no casualties or damage,” he said.

The ministry also said nine of the Ukraine-launched drones were destroyed over the Bryansk region, three over Kursk and two over Belgorod.

The hotel damaged in Mykolaiv city, which was confirmed by the governor of the broader Mykolaiv region Vitaliy Kim, was housing English-speaking mercenaries fighting in Ukraine at the time, according to Russia's RIA news agency.

Mr Kim said Russian drones “seriously damaged” the hotel, sparking a fire that was later extinguished.

He added that the strike damaged heat-generating infrastructure in the city. There were no casualties, he said.

RIA carried claims that the strike on Mykolaiv had also targeted a shipyard where naval drones are assembled.

The report cited Sergei Lebedev, described as a co-ordinator of pro-Moscow guerrillas. His claim could not be independently verified.

Updated: April 28, 2024, 2:22 PM