Ukraine says it repels attack around Blahodatne, Wagner claims control

Ukrainian service members ride a previously captured Russian armoured personnel carrier in the village of Blahodatne, retaken by the Ukrainian Armed Forces a day ago, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kherson region, Ukraine November 11, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/Files

(Reuters) - Ukraine's military said on Sunday its forces repelled an attack in the area of Blahodatne in the eastern part of the Donetsk region, while Russia's Wagner private military group said it took control of the village.

"Units of Ukraine's Defence Forces repelled the attacks of the occupiers in the areas of ... Blahodatne ... in the Donetsk region," the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said in its daily morning report, referring to fighting on Saturday.

It added that its forces repelled Russian attacks in the areas of 13 other settlements in the Donetsk region.

The Wagner Group, designated by the United States as transnational criminal organisation, said on the Telegram messaging app on Saturday that its units had taken control of Blahodatne.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports.

With fighting heating up in the Donetsk region, the exact line of contact has been unclear, especially around the town Bakhmut where some of the heaviest fighting of the war has been taking place in recent weeks. The Wagner Group has made premature success claims before.

Ukraine has said that the Russian offensive on Bakhmut has not culminated, but the situation along the front line there has been growingly difficult. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday that it was acute.

Four civilians were killed, one in Bakhmut, and 17 wounded in Russian attacks on the region on Saturday, Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region said on the Telegram messaging app.

Ukraine has won promises of Western battle tanks and is seeking fighter jets to push back against Russian and pro-Moscow forces, which are slowly advancing along part of the front line.

On Saturday, Zelenskiy's top aide said that expedited talks were under way between Ukraine and its allies about its requests for long-range missiles to prevent Russia from destroying Ukrainian cities.

(This story has been refiled to fix erroneous word "were" in the sixth paragraph)

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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