Russia claims to have taken control of key access point in Donbas, eastern Ukraine

Russian forces have taken control of Kleshcheyevka, a key access point to the transport hub of Bakhmut in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Friday.

The operation to capture the settlement was carried out by "volunteer assault squads" with fire support from artillery and rocket forces of the regular army, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a press briefing in Moscow.

The regular army also captured the Lobkovoye settlement in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, Konashenkov added.

On Thursday, Evgeny Prigozhin, head of Russian private military company the Wagner Group, said his mercenaries "completely took control" of Kleshcheyevka, a key suburb of the city of Bakhmut through which Ukrainian troops are supplied with weapons and military equipment.

Prigozhin claimed "fierce battles" continued around Kleshcheyevka, with the Ukrainians "clinging onto every meter of ground."

"Contrary to various opinions that the AFU (armed forces of Ukraine) is fleeing from Artyomovsk (Russian name for Bakhmut), this is not the case. The AFU works clearly, smoothly. We have a lot to learn from them. But in any case, the units of the Wagner PMC are moving forward meter by meter. The settlement of Artyomovsk will be taken," he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency