2:45 p.m. ET, September 17, 2023
Ukraine recaptures key village near Bakhmut, Zelensky says
Ukraine has recaptured Klishchiivka, a key village in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday.
Zelensky's office posted a picture on social media earlier in the day, indicating Ukraine had liberated this key area that has been critical to Ukraine's counteroffensive in the east.
In the photo, five soldiers are holding flags and posing for the camera in front of a church, geolocated by CNN as the Church of the Intercession in the center of the village.
"[T]oday I would like to especially recognize the warriors who are gradually regaining Ukraine's territory in the area of Bakhmut," Zelensky said during his nightly address.
The area southwest of Bakhmut has been a focus for Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the east throughout the summer, and Zelensky will be keen to highlight this apparent success when he meets with world leaders, among them United States President Joe Biden, on his upcoming trip to the US this week for the United Nations General Assembly.
In a separate video release also filmed in front of the church, one of a group of six soldiers standing together declares the liberation of Klishchiivka has been completed.
The sound of artillery explosions can be heard throughout the short clip, some sounding no more than 500 meters away, which the soldier seems to acknowledge, saying, “the enemy does not give up attempts to re-capture [the village], using all possible means of fire. But we are standing firm and confident.”
The video shows the church has suffered massive damage during months of fighting, including the loss of its green cupola.
The announcement that Klishchiivka had been recaptured came two days after Ukraine’s forces claimed Andriivka, a small hamlet immediately to the south.
With the summer counteroffensive now well into its fourth month, Ukraine has come under increasing pressure to convince key Western partners that Russian forces can be pushed back