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.

Russia's forces have made notable gains in the eastern Donetsk region over the last week, prompting rare criticism by Ukrainian military bloggers of the 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," Russia's defence ministry said in its daily battlefield briefing, referring to the Donetsk region under separatist control.

The village is around 10 kilometres (6 miles) north of Avdiivka, which Russia's forces captured in February after one of the bloodiest battles of the two-year conflict.


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

Moscow said on Saturday its troops around Donetsk had managed to drive "deep" into Ukrainian defensive lines.

Ukraine's army leaders have conceded Russia has had some "tactical successes" in the area and that its own positions had deteriorated.

Ukraine's head of intelligence at the ministry of defence Kyrylo Budanov said this month that the battlefield situation is likely to worsen for Ukraine around mid-May to early June.

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Zelensky's visit comes as Ukraine has been battling a Russian ground offensive in the Kharkiv region which began on May 10 in Moscow's biggest territorial advance in 18 months.

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

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