Ukrainian troops celebrate capture of frontline town

The town, seen as the last remaining Russian-occupied town in the Mykolaiv region, is important for control of a strategic road that leads to the city of Kherson, which Russia captured in March.

 A serviceman smokes in a trench at his position on a front line, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine November 3, 2022.  (photo credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)
A serviceman smokes in a trench at his position on a front line, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine November 3, 2022.
(photo credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)

Ukrainian troops claimed on Thursday to have recaptured the town of Snihurivka in the southern Mykolaiv region from Russian forces, speaking in video footage published on social media and by Ukrainian national television.

The town, seen as the last remaining Russian-occupied town in the Mykolaiv region, is important for control of a strategic road that leads to the city of Kherson, which Russia captured in March.

"Today on Nov. 10, Snihurivka was liberated by the forces of the 131st Separate Intelligence Battalion. Glory to Ukraine!" a soldier shouted as civilians clapped and cheered.

Reuters was able to verify the location of the footage, but not the date it was filmed. There was no immediate confirmation of the town's recapture from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, a day after Russia ordered its forces to retreat from the area.

 Damaged vehicles are seen in the aftermath of a rocket attack in the location given as Mykolaiv, Ukraine in this handout picture released September 30, 2022. (credit: STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) Damaged vehicles are seen in the aftermath of a rocket attack in the location given as Mykolaiv, Ukraine in this handout picture released September 30, 2022. (credit: STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Fog hung over the settlement in the background as the soldier stood in a group of heavily armed troops, one of whom was holding up the Ukrainian flag on a military infantry vehicle.

Ukrainian forces capture 12 new settlements 

Ukrainian forces have advanced seven km (4.3 miles)in two directions in the south and captured 12 new settlements in the last 24 hours, Ukrainian army chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said on Thursday.

"We can't yet confirm or deny the information of the so-called withdrawal of Russian occupation troops from Kherson. We continue to conduct the offensive operation in line with our plan," he wrote in a post on Telegram.

Wary of Russian withdrawal and possible Kremlin trap 

Despite Russia announcing its withdrawal from the area, Kyiv has said it is wary of rushing in and warned it may be some kind of a Kremlin trap.

Kyiv officials have been careful not to blurt out sensitive military information during earlier counteroffensives in the east and near Kyiv, and they gave few clues of their movements on Wednesday.

The head of the Ukrainian presidential office published an emoticon of a bird, an apparent reference to Snihurivka, which contains the word for a breed of bird in Ukrainian.

Vitaliy Kim, governor of the neighboring region of Mykolaiv said: "We'll wait for official information from the Armed Forces. From myself, I can say that as of now, authorities of that district are already, let's say, close. Let's not lay our cards open. We are preparing humanitarian aid, trucks with food, starlinks."