Russia says it advances near Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine

(Reuters) -Russia said on Sunday its forces had advanced towards the town of Chasiv Yar in eastern Ukraine and seized control of the settlement of Bohdanivka, as Kyiv said it urgently needed promised U.S. support to fend off a full-scale offensive.

"Units of the Southern grouping group of forces have fully liberated the settlement of Bohdanivka ... and have improved the situation along the front line," Russia's defence ministry said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

Control of Bohdanivka, located just to the west of the Russian-held city of Bakhmut, has been in doubt for some time.

The village lies some 5 kilometres (3 miles) east of Chasiv Yar, a heavily fortified hilltop town and forward artillery base for the Ukrainian army, providing protection for some of the area's largest cities including Kramatorsk and Slaviansk.

The Russian report could not be independently verified and there was no comment from Ukraine regarding Bohdanivka.

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces, in its daily report, mentioned Bohdanivka as one of a series of villages where it said Ukrainian forces repelled 13 enemy attacks. But it gave no specific details.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his daily video address that he held talks on Sunday with army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi and Defence Minister Rustem Umerov about Chasiv Yar and other hot spots on the frontline.

In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press", aired on Sunday, Zelenskiy urged Washington, where the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, to quickly turn the bill into law and proceed with the transfer of weapons ahead of an anticipated Russian offensive.

"We are preparing (for an offensive)," Zelenskiy said, reiterating Syrskyi's warning that Russia aims to capture the Chasiv Yar by May 9, one of Russia's largest public holidays and which marks Moscow's victory over Nazi forces in World War II.

"I hope we will be able to stay, and the weapons will come on time, and we will repel the enemy, and then we'll break the plans of the Russian Federation with regards to this full-scale offensive."

Ukraine says it expects Russia to launch a broad offensive in spring and summer after capturing the town of Avdiivka, east of Chasiv Yar, during the winter.

Ukraine's Defence Ministry denied last week that Russia had captured all of Bohdanivka, while acknowledging it had lost some positions in the village in eastern Donetsk region.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Ron Popeski and Lidia Kelly; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Stephen Coates)