Ukrainian soldiers raise a flag in a reconquered town near Bakhmut

Ukrainian soldiers were seen in a video on Sunday kissing their country’s flag after retaking a town near Bakhmut.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that his army had regained control of Klishchiivka, a town southwest of Bakhmut, in a post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Bakhmut and its surrounding areas have been the scene of some of the most intense fighting this year in the Russian-Ukrainian war, launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, 2022. The recapture of Klishchiivka marks a crucial victory for the latest counter-offensive of Ukraine as a Western country. Allies, whose support has bolstered Ukraine’s defense efforts against Moscow, have reportedly expressed concern over its slow progress.

“Klishchiivka. I thank our warriors for liberating our country. The 80th Air Assault Brigade, the 5th Assault Brigade and the famous 95th Air Assault Brigade, as well as the “Fury” Assault Brigade of the National Police”, Zelensky wrote on Sunday afternoon. “I thank everyone who remained strong, from Kupiansk to the left bank of Kherson!”

Ukrainian soldiers are seen on an armored personnel carrier on a road near Lyman, Ukraine, October 4, 2022. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that his army had recaptured a town near Bakhmut.

Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to Ukraine’s Interior Minister, posted a video on military symbolism.

“Ukrainian defenders liberated Klishchiivka in the Donetsk region! The information was confirmed by President Zelensky. Glory to the Ukrainian heroes!” he wrote on Sunday.

The victory comes after Ukrainian troops advanced in several areas around Donetsk, sparking concerns among pro-war Russians about losing Ukrainian towns. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank, reported Saturday that Klishchiivka was one of the areas in which Ukraine had made notable progress.

Ukrainian victory precedes Zelensky’s visit to Washington

Ukraine’s victory at Klishchiivka comes at a critical time for support from the United States, a key ally that has provided billions of dollars in military aid to the Eastern European country. Zelensky is expected to visit Washington this week as Congress debates sending more aid to his country.

President Joe Biden, as well as Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, are generally more supportive of providing military aid to Ukraine. However, Republican hardliners focus on cutting spending ahead of appropriations bills to fund the government and have been critical of providing such support.

Biden has requested $24 billion in military aid to Ukraine, a figure that could struggle to pass the House of Representatives where the Freedom Caucus, a coalition of the most conservative Republicans, has been most vocal against increased aid to Ukraine. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is tasked with trying to reach a deal that satisfies these hard-liners as well as more moderate Republicans who support aid to Ukraine.

It remains to be seen whether this victory will allay the questions of Ukraine’s Western allies about the pace of the counter-offensive. The New York Times reported last month that some U.S. officials had raised concerns about Ukraine’s strategy in the counteroffensive that began in June.

News week contacted the Armed Forces of Ukraine for comment via email.


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