Ukraine has announced the liberation of the village of Andriivka near the Russian-held city of Bakhmut.

In a post on social media on Friday morning, Ukraine's General Staff said: “The defense forces... liberated Andriivka in Donetsk region, inflicted significant losses on the enemy in terms of manpower and equipment, and entrenched at the occupied frontiers.”

They also reported “partial success” near another village south of Bakhmut, Klishchiivka, but added: “Tough battles are ongoing.”

Ukraine's 3rd Separate Assault Brigade fighting on the ground said it had led a "lightning operation" and "practically liquidated the whole of (Russia's) 72nd infantry brigade."

 

Bakhmut, a town that was once home to around 70,000 people, was captured by Russian forces in May following one of the longest and bloodiest battles of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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Ukrainian forces, however, almost immediately began pushing back around the northern and southern flanks of the city and have been posting incremental gains, AFP reports. 

Andriivka is around 14 kilometers (9 miles) south of Bakhmut, with an estimated pre-war population of fewer than 100 people.

It’s the second time in 24 hours that Kyiv has claimed Andriivka had been liberated after a “communication breakdown” on Thursday led to a “premature” announcement.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar made the claim in a post on Telegram only to be swiftly contradicted by Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade, which said it was too soon the declare the liberation of Andriivka. 

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“The statement about the capture of Andriivka is false and premature,” it wrote.

“Currently, serious and heavy fighting continues in the districts of Klishchiivka and Andriivka.

“Such statements are harmful, pose a threat to the lives of personnel and harm the performance of combat missions.”

In another Telegram post, Maliar later said she was “clarifying” the information and said there was a “communication breakdown between several sources of information reporting directly from the scene.”

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On Friday, Maliar said on Telegram that the General Staff had now "officially confirmed that our troops captured Andriivka yesterday as a result of fighting."

"It was difficult and the situation changed very dynamically several times yesterday," she added.

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