In a resounding declaration of determination and resilience, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had successfully recaptured the strategic eastern village of Klishchiivka, situated on the southern flank of Bakhmut. This remarkable achievement marks Ukraine’s second significant gain in just three days in their relentless counteroffensive against the Russian army.
A Hard-fought Battle
The battle for Klishchiivka, nestled on higher grounds approximately 9 kilometers (6 miles) south of Bakhmut, has been nothing short of grueling. It spanned weeks of intense combat and military strategy, following Kyiv’s announcement on Friday that it had gained control of the nearby village of Andriivka. These territorial gains represent a pivotal moment in Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive, which commenced in June and has faced formidable challenges in breaching entrenched Russian lines.
Ukrainian Forces’ Triumph
Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces who holds operational control over the counteroffensive, shared a triumphant video on the Telegram messaging app. In the video, Ukrainian forces proudly hoist the national blue and yellow flag on ruined buildings in Klishchiivka, amidst the distant sounds of ongoing combat. Syrskyi jubilantly declares, “Klishchiivka was cleared of the Russians.” His presence on the Bakhmut frontline has not only been symbolic but also instrumental in devising strategic maneuvers and bolstering the troops’ morale.
Verification and Response
While Reuters could not independently verify the Ukrainian reports, there has been no immediate comment from Moscow. On Sunday, Russia’s defense ministry, in its daily briefing, asserted that its forces maintained their attacks near Klishchiivka, a village that had a pre-war population of around 400. Ukrainian military analysts have highlighted that the liberation of settlements near Bakhmut is strategically significant, enabling the military to advance from the southern flank in the Bakhmut area.
President Zelenskiy, expressing his unwavering optimism, thanked the units responsible for this achievement. He specifically mentioned the 80th airborne assault brigade, the 5th assault brigade, the “glorious 95th,” and a national police assault brigade as key contributors to the successful operation. Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, echoed this sentiment on Telegram, declaring, “Ukraine always gets its own back.”
Significant Damage Inflicted
Ukrainian forces, in their relentless pursuit of victory, inflicted substantial damage on the Russian adversaries. Among the impacted units were Russian airborne units, the “Akhmat” battalion led by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Storm-Z consisting of Russian criminals, the Russian General Staff’s military intelligence, and motorized rifle units. This resounding success has provided Ukraine with a crucial base to continue offensive actions and to further liberate their land from the invaders.
Despite these achievements, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar cautioned that Russia was still attempting to regain lost positions in Klishchiivka. She remarked, “Today we had to fight off enemy attacks all day.” It’s worth noting that Russia continues to control significant portions of Ukraine’s eastern and southern territories, including Klishchiivka, which had been under Russian control since January.
In summary, Ukraine’s successful recapture of Klishchiivka stands as a testament to their unyielding commitment to defending their homeland. As the world watches these developments unfold, the bravery and resilience of Ukrainian forces continue to shine brightly, offering hope in the face of adversity.