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Russia says it captured two more villages in Ukraine

MAKARIV, UKRAINE - APRIL 19: Debris lies in a war damaged apartment on April 19, 2022 in Makariv, Ukraine. Local residents said the building was attacked by Russian tanks during the invasion in early March. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

MOSCOW, May 8, 2024 (AFP): Russia said Wednesday it had captured two more frontline villages in Ukraine, including in the north-east Kharkiv region where its troops had been pushed back two years ago.

Moscow has made a string of gains on the front in recent months, pressing its manpower and weapons advantage on the battlefield as Kyiv waits for critical supplies of Western aid.

The Russian defence ministry said its army units had “liberated the village of Kyslivka in the Kharkiv region” and “Novokalynove in the Donetsk People’s Republic”.

Kyslivka is about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the embattled Ukrainian stronghold of Kupiansk, while Novokalynove is about 10 kilometres north of Avdiivka, captured by Moscow in February.

Officials in Ukraine are worried Russia may be preparing a fresh offensive in the north east, taking advantage of severe ammunition shortages in the Ukrainian army.

Ukraine’s commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrskyi acknowledged in April that Kyiv had pulled back from three villages and was building a new line of fortifications to defend the front.

Separately, the Russian defence ministry said it had launched retaliatory strikes against Ukrainian energy and military facilities, after Kyiv reported a wave of aerial attacks overnight.

“In response to the Kyiv regime’s attempt to damage Russian energy facilities, this morning the armed forces of the Russian Federation launched a group strike against energy facilities and enterprises of Ukraine’s military-industrial complex,” it said.