A Ukrainian serviceman gets ready to fire with a mortar from a position near Bakhmut, in Ukraine's Donetsk region/Photo: AFP
KYIV: Russia and Ukraine made conflicting claims Sunday on who controls the territory near Blahodatne in the eastern part of the Donetsk region.
Russia’s Wagner mercenary military group claimed it took control of the village, while Ukraine’s military said its troops had repelled the attack.
“Units of Ukraine’s Defense Forces repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of … Blahodatne … in the Donetsk region,” the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in its daily morning report, referring to fighting on Saturday.
Ukraine said its forces also repelled Russian attacks in areas near 13 other settlements in the Donetsk region.
But the Wagner Group, designated by the United States as a transnational criminal organization, said on the Telegram messaging app on Saturday that its units had taken control of Blahodatne.
The French news agency reports there was no immediate confirmation from Russia’s defense ministry.
With warfare intensifying in the Donetsk region, the exact battleline has been unclear, especially around the town of Bakhmut, where heavy fighting has been occurring in recent weeks. The Wagner Group has made premature success claims before.
Ukraine has said that Russia has not taken over Bakhmut, but that the situation along the front line there has been growing diffiult. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that it was acute.
Four civilians were killed, one in Bakhmut, and 17 wounded in Russian attacks on the region on Saturday, Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region said on the Telegram messaging app.