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Ukraine says repelled attack near Blahodatne, Wagner claims control

By AFP - Jan 29,2023 - Last updated at Jan 29,2023

This photo taken on January 28, 2023, shows dogs walking among damaged civilian planes at the International Airport of Kherson in the village of Chornobaivka, outskirts of Kherson, amid Russia's military invasion on Ukraine (AFP photo)

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine's military said Sunday its forces repelled an attack near Blahodatne in the eastern Donetsk region after Wagner mercenary group claimed it took control of the village.

Kyiv's forces "repelled attacks near... Blahodatne" and 13 other settlements in the Donetsk region, the Ukrainian General Staff said in its daily report.

Earlier, private military group Wagner said its units had taken control of the village.

"Units of Wagner PMC have taken Blahodatne. Blahodatne is under our control," Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said as quoted by his press service.

There was no immediate confirmation from Russia's defence ministry.

Moscow has made capturing the eastern Donetsk region, which it has already declared a part of Russia, its primary goal in Ukraine.

Kyiv recently said that Russian troops had stepped up their attacks in the east, particularly on the towns of Vugledar and Bakhmut.

Earlier this month, Russia said it wrested control of Soledar, a salt-mining town near Bakhmut, Moscow's first claim of victory after months of battlefield setbacks.

Blahodatne is located to the north of Bakhmut.

Russian forces have been seeking to seize Bakhmut for months in some of the heaviest fighting since Russia invaded in February last year.

Separately, five civilians were killed in attacks on the Donetsk region over the past day, local Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said Sunday, including one person in Bakhmut.

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