Russia said on Monday its forces had captured two more frontline villages in Ukraine, including in the northeast Kharkiv region, where Kyiv had repelled Moscow's troops earlier in the conflict.

Moscow has made a string of gains on the front in recent months, pressing its manpower and weapons advantage on the battlefield as Kyiv waits for critical supplies of Western aid.

Russian army units "liberated the village of Kotlyarivka in the Kharkiv region" and "the village of Soloviove in the Donetsk People's Republic", the defence ministry said in a daily briefing.

Kotlyarivka lies about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the embattled Ukrainian stronghold of Kupiansk in the northeast, an area that has seen intense shelling amid speculation Moscow could launch an offensive there.


Soloviove meanwhile lies on the eastern front, close to the village of Ocheretyne that Moscow claimed to have captured on Sunday.

Kyiv has struggled to hold the frontline in recent months as it deals with severe ammunition shortages, mostly due to hold ups in military supplies from its biggest ally Washington.

Ukraine's commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said late last month that Kyiv had pulled back from three villages in the eastern Donetsk region and was building a new line of fortifications amid fears of Russian advances.

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