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Russia takes village in Ukraine's Kharkiv region -defence ministry

(Reuters) -Russian forces have taken control of the village of Krokhmalne in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, Russia's Defence Ministry said on Sunday, and a Ukrainian military spokesman confirmed that Kyiv's forces had withdrawn.

The small advance follows a similar statement on Thursday from the defence ministry saying its forces had taken control of a settlement named Vesele in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region.

Russia has been ramping up offensive pressure around eastern Ukrainian towns such as Kupiansk, Lyman and Avdiivka though its gains have been modest so far. Moscow says its forces have regained the initiative in many areas after a failed Ukrainian counter-offensive last year against Russia's 2022 invasion.

Ukrainian military spokesperson Volodymyr Fitio played down the latest news and told national television that Russia's capture of Krokhmalne had no impact on the overall situation.

"Our main goal is to save the lives of our defenders and they were moved to pre-prepared positions where they are now holding defences to prevent the enemy from advancing further," Fitio said.

He said Krokhmalne had five houses and before the war was home to only 45 people. The "several hundred metres" captured by Russian troops were of no consequence, he said, calling the event a "temporary phenomenon".

(Writing by by Maxim Rodionov and Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv; editing by Andrew Osborn and Mark Heinrich)