Ukraine has said its forces had liberated the tactically important town of Klishchiivka, south of Bakhmut.

“Klishchiivka was cleared of Russians,” Oleksandr Syrsky, commander of the Ukrainian military's ground forces, posted on Telegram.

Footage and photos posted to social media showed Ukrainian troops holding flags among the ruins of the destroyed village.

Klishchiivka, which was home to several hundred people before Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, was captured by Russian troops in January.

Ilya Yevlash, spokesman for Ukrainian troops in the east, said that control over Klishchiivka could help the Ukrainian army encircle Bakhmut, captured by Russian forces in May after one of the war's longest and bloodiest battles, AFP reports.

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“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,” Yevlash said in a televised statement.

The liberation of Klishchiivka comes just a few days after Ukraine’s forces recaptured the nearby village of the Andriivka.

Both are now uninhabitable ruins. Ukraine’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade at the forefront of fighting in the area over the weekend released a video of two soldiers fighting through the ruins of Andriivka, dodging heavy gunfire and mortars in a post-apocalyptic landscape.

President Zelensky hailed the news of Klishchiivka’s liberation and praised his troops, saying: “I thank our warriors for liberating our land.”

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Trump's frequent praise for Putin and reluctance to outright criticize the Russian invasion have stirred concerns among Ukraine's allies that he would force the country into accepting partial defeat.

Zelensky also said that Kyiv was “preparing new defense solutions for Ukraine,” saying that “air defense and artillery are the priority,” without providing details.

Battlefield victories are especially important for Ukraine as President Zelensky prepares his second wartime visit to Washington next week in a bid to rally support.

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