September 29, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers were seen embracing their country’s flag in a video on Sunday after recapturing a town located near Bakhmut.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that his military retook control of Klishchiivka, a town located southwest of Bakhmut, in a post to social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Bakhmut and its surrounding area has been the site of some of the most intense fighting this year in the Russia-Ukraine war, launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, 2022. Recapturing Klishchiivka marks a critical victory for Ukraine’s latest counteroffensive effort as Western allies, whose support have bolstered Ukraine’s defense efforts against Moscow, have reportedly expressed concern about its slower progress.

“Klishchiivka. I thank our warriors for liberating our land. The 80th Air Assault, 5th Assault, and the renowned 95th Air Assault brigades, as well as the National Police’s ‘Fury’ Assault Brigade,” Zelensky wrote on Sunday afternoon. “I thank everyone who is standing strong from Kupiansk to the left bank of Kherson!”

Ukrainian troops embrace flag in recaptured town
Ukrainian soldiers are seen on a personnel armored carrier on a road near Lyman, Ukraine, on October 4, 2022. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that his military recaptured a town near Bakhmut.

Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the minister of internal affairs of Ukraine, posted a video to X showing soldiers from the 80th Separate Assault Brigade embracing the Ukrainian flag, a flag representing their unit and other unverified flags donning military symbolism.

“Ukrainian Defenders have liberated Klishchiivka in Donetsk region! The information has been confirmed by President Zelenskyy. Glory to Ukrainian Heroes!” he wrote Sunday.

The victory comes after reports that Ukrainian troops have made advances in several areas around Donetsk, sparking concerns from pro-war Russians about the loss of Ukrainian towns. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, reported on Saturday that Klishchiivka was one area Ukraine has made notable progress in.

Ukrainian Victory Comes Ahead of Zelensky’s Washington, D.C., Visit

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

President Joe Biden, as well as congressional leadership from both Democrats and Republicans, are generally more supportive of providing military aid for Ukraine. However, Republican hardliners are focused on cutting spending ahead of appropriations bills to fund the government and have been critical when it comes to providing such support.

Biden has requested $24 billion for military aid for Ukraine, a figure that may face difficulty passing the House of Representatives where the Freedom Caucus, a coalition of the most conservative Republicans, have been most vocal against providing more assistance to Ukraine. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is tasked with trying to strike a deal that satisfies these hardliners along with more moderate Republicans who support aiding Ukraine.

It remains to be seen if this victory will quell questions about the pace of the counteroffensive from Ukraine’s Western allies. The New York Times reported last month that some U.S. officials have raised concerns about Ukraine’s strategy in the counteroffensive, which began in June.

Newsweek reached out to the Armed Forces of Ukraine for comment via email.

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