Russia denies losing frontline village to Ukraine forces

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MOSCOW: Russia said on Saturday (Sep 16) that its forces had not been pushed out of Andriivka, a village near the key frontline town of Bakhmut, a day after Ukraine said it had “liberated” the site and inflicted heavy losses on enemy troops.

Andriivka is around 14km south of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, where Kyiv has been pushing back against Moscow’s forces since June.

Ukraine’s General Staff said on Friday that the village was back under Ukrainian control.

But in its daily bulletin, Russia’s Defence Ministry said that “in the Donetsk sector, the enemy … continues to carry out assaults … trying in vain to dislodge Russian troops in the localities of Andriivka and Klishchiivka”.

The statement adds to the confusion surrounding the situation on the ground in the village, which had just a few dozen residents before Russia’s offensive.

On Thursday, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Ganna Malyar backtracked on an announcement earlier in the day that Kyiv had retaken Andriivka after troops on the ground said fighting was ongoing.

On Ukrainian television on Friday, a spokesman for a brigade fighting in the area said the village was “completely destroyed”, adding that “Andriivka no longer exists”.

Bakhmut, the nearby city 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 invasion.

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

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