“A The initiative is in the hands of our soldiers, in the hands of Ukraine”, wrote the Ukrainian president, on Telegram, quoted by the Efe agency.
He also added that “Ukrainian heroism” will be the key factor in determining “how the war will end.”
Hours earlier, Zelensky had announced the liberation, by his armed forces, of the small town of Andriivka, south of Bakhmut, considered key to the siege of that city.
“Our soldiers freed Andriivka,” Zelensky said, stating that this is an important and expected result.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine also said that “during assault operations, Ukrainian forces took Andriivka in the Donetsk region, inflicted significant losses of personnel and equipment on the enemy and consolidated their new positions.”
Ukrainian commander Maksym Zhorin explained that control of Andriivka is essential for Kyiv forces to advance towards Bakhmut.
However, today, the Russian military denied these claims and stated that Kyiv forces failed in their attempts to expel the Russian army from Andriivka.
“On the Donetsk front, the enemy persists in its plans to surround Atyromovsk (Russian name of Bakhmut) and continues its assault actions (…) trying, without success, to expel the Russian forces from the towns of Andriivka and Klishchiivka”, according to the latest Russian military report.
According to Moscow, in the last week its forces repelled a total of 34 Ukrainian attacks in this direction.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February last year, claimed control of Bakhmut in May, after intervention by mercenaries from the Wagner group. After abandoning their positions, these elements transferred operational command to Russian forces.
The Ukrainian army has been leading a counteroffensive since early June, aiming to repel Russian forces in the east and south, but faces powerful defensive lines made up of trenches, minefields and anti-tank traps.
Ukrainian pressure has intensified in recent weeks, particularly on the southern front, with the capture of the village of Robotyne, towards the city of Tokmak, an important logistical point for Russian forces.
The military offensive launched on February 24, 2022 by Russia in Ukraine caused, according to the most recent UN data, the worst refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War (1939-1945).
The Russian invasion – justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin with the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security – was condemned by most of the international community, which has responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing Russia from political and economic sanctions.
Read Also: Ukrainian army says it has recaptured village near Bakhmut
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