Day 569: Ukrainian troops recapture Andriyivka south of Bakhmut

Ukrainian troops recapture the village of Andriyivka, south of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s General Staff said. Drone debris damage homes, overhead power lines in a night-time attack on Khmelnytskyi region. The G7 is to announce an import ban on Russian-mined diamonds.

Ukrainian troops recapture Andriyivka south of Bakhmut

Ukrainian troops recaptured the village of Andriyivka, south of Bakhmut, after months of intense fighting, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Friday. A day earlier, there were conflicting reports on whether Ukraine regained control of the village. 

“In the course of an offensive operation, Ukraine’s defense forces have achieved partial success near Klishchiyivka. They took control of Andriyivka, in Donetsk region, during an assault operation, inflicting on the enemy heavy losses in troops and equipment. Ukrainian troops are consolidating their new positions,” the General Staff said in a morning report.

Some details of the village’s recapture emerged from a statement by the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, which took part in the push. “The 3rd Separate Assault Brigade has liberated Andriyivka. As a result of a lightning operation, the Russian garrison of Andriyivka was surrounded, cut off from the main forces, and destroyed,” the brigade said. 

Over several days of fighting, Ukrainian troops took out most of Russia’s 72nd Separate Motor Rifle Brigade, including the brigade’s intelligence chief, three battalion commanders and almost all of the infantry soldiers and officers. They also destroyed much of Russia’s equipment, the statement reads.

“The fighting continues; our units continue to consolidate in new positions. The number of Russian casualties, and other details of the operation will follow,” the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade said.

After months of heavy fighting in the area, Andriyivka is in complete ruins. 

“Unfortunately, [Andriyivka] is in such a condition that I am not sure there is a place to install a flag pole there. (…) There is no Andriivka left per se. It is fully destroyed, but as a place, as a square, it is an important square,” Oleksandr Borodin, press officer of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade said on Ukrainian television. 

Recapture of Andriyivka is key to cutting Russian supply lines that run to Horlivka and encircling Bakhmut.

Grinding battles for the village continued for months. In July, Ukrainian troops said they were close to retaking it.

“Capturing and holding Andriyivka – is our path to a breakthrough on the right flank of Bakhmut and the key to the success of the entire further offensive,” the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade said. 

Drone debris damage homes, overhead power lines in night-time attack on Khmelnytskyi region

In the early hours of Friday, September 15, Russia launched a drone strike, targeting Khmelnytskyi region. All 17 Iranian-made Shahed drones were shot down, Ukraine’s Air Force said. Debris fell in a village in the region.

Drone wreckage damaged 12 homes, overhead power lines, and shattered windows in a school and a boiler room. No one was hurt, deputy head of the Khmelnytskyi regional military administration Serhiy Tyurin said. Repair works were underway, he added.

Khmelnytskyi region is home to the Starokostyantyniv air base, which has been repeatedly attacked during the war. The air base houses Ukraine’s Su-24M bombers, carrying Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

Spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force Command, Colonel Yuriy Ihnat, alleged that Russia was searching for Ukrainian bombers after Ukraine’s successful attacks in Crimea. On September 13, Ukraine struck a shipyard in Sevastopol, damaging Russia’s large landing ship and submarine.

G7 to announce import ban on Russian diamonds

A ban on imports of Russian diamonds is expected to be agreed by Group of Seven nations in the next two or three weeks, a Belgian official said Friday.

The ban would come into effect in January, the official added. In May, the G7 announced plans to impose a ban on imports of Russia’s diamonds in a bid to tighten a squeeze on Russia’s capacity to finance the war in Ukraine. No further details were given then on how the restrictions could work in practice.

Some of the EU countries chose to ban Russian-mined diamonds. Yet earlier attempts to sanction Russian gems in Europe had met resistance from leading importer nations like Belgium.

Russia is the world’s biggest diamond producer and raises significant revenue from the diamond trade.