Ukrainian officials said on Friday that the country’s armed forces had liberated Bucha, a suburb adjacent to Irpin, just north of the capital Kyiv, along with dozens of other towns and villages across the country.
The development follows more than a month of fierce Ukrainian resistance that has bogged down Russian forces in the region, preventing a quick capture of kyiv.
Ukraine’s recapture of Bucha comes days after the Russian Defense Ministry suggested reducing its forces around kyiv and focusing on military operations in the east and south of the country.
“Bucha is free! The Ukrainian army has liberated the city,” city mayor Anatoly Fedoruk said in a video address on Friday.
Ukrainian officials confirmed this week that they had driven Russian forces out of Irpin. Government videos of Irpin and Bucha – once upper-middle class uptowns – showed they had been heavily shelled and decimated by the battles.
Earlier on Friday, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces said that in 37 days of “heroic opposition by the Ukrainian people to the Russian military invasion”, government troops had liberated nearly 30 settlements.
North of kyiv, the Ukrainian armed forces claim to have “restored control” of the settlements, which include: Demydiv, Dymer, Lytvynivka, Gavrylivka, Kozarovychi, Zhovtneve, Hlybivka, Yasnohorodka, Talakun, Sukoluchchya, Lypivka, Gavronshchyna, Makovyshche, Mykolayivka and Khmilne.
Russian and Ukrainian military claims cannot be independently verified.