Ukrainian forces have said they have reclaimed Klishchiivka, a tactically important town south of Bakhmut. “Klishchiivka was cleared of Russians,” Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander of the Ukrainian military’s ground forces, said on social media, Al Jazeera reported.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak, added: “Klishchiivka is Ukraine. I am grateful to the soldiers for the de-occupation of Ukrainian land.”
The town was captured by Russian forces in January. The victory comes at a time when Zelenskyy prepares for his second wartime visit to Washington in a bid to rally support.
Zelenskyy in his evening address to the nation praised the soldiers fighting near Bakhmut.
"We have now gained a staging ground, which will in the future allow us to continue to develop offensive actions and liberate our land from the occupiers," Ilya Yevlash, spokesman for Ukrainian troops in the east said in an interview, AFP reported. He added the victory could help the troops encircle Bakhmut, and hopefully recapture it.
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the current counteroffensive by Ukraine was "slower than the planners had anticipated, (but) it has been steady." He also said that it is going to take a long time to eject Russian troops out of Russian-occupied Ukraine. "Most wars last longer than expected when they first begin," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told Germany's Funke media group.