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Russia says captured village near Ukraine's Bakhmut

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukrainian troops fire a 2S7 Pion self-propelled gun toward Russian positions on a frontline near Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine, on January 24. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia says its forces have captured a village on the northern outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the village of Blahodatne, which sits on one of the main roads into Bakhmut, was captured with aerial support.

A Ukrainian commander said on Monday that "constant" fighting was underway in and around Bakhmut, where Russian forces were trying to take control of the Kostiantynivka-Bakhmut highway.

The administrator of Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk Province, Denis Pushilin, also confirmed that Russian troops had secured a foothold in the coal mining town of Vuhledar, south of Bakhmut.

Pushilin's adviser, Yan Gagin, said Monday that fighters from Russian private security firm Wagner had taken partial control of a supply road leading to Bakhmut.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier, "I think that Russia really wants its big revenge. I think they have [already] started it."

"Every day they either bring in more of their regular troops, or we see an increase in the number of Wagnerites," he told reporters in Ukraine's southern port city of Odesa.

Military experts say Moscow appears determined to push forward in the coming months, since the West has pledged hundreds of modern tanks and armored vehicles to equip Ukrainian forces.

Zelensky is urging the West to hasten the delivery of its promised weapons so Ukraine can go on the offensive.

Russia has repeatedly said that sending weapons to Ukraine would escalate tensions and prolong the war in the country.

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