The road into the newly liberated Ukrainian village of Storozheve is lined with the corpses of Russian soldiers and burnt-out armored vehicles.
The grisly scenes bear witness to the ferocity of fighting as Ukrainian troops recaptured Storozheve and several other villages in the past few days as part of a counteroffensive in southern and eastern Ukraine.
Some of the dead Russian soldiers lay on the dusty ground beside the husks of their vehicles when Reuters journalists reached the village on Wednesday. Others were crumpled in the grass and fields nearby where they died.
Inside the village, the small one-story houses that line the road have been badly damaged by shelling, their roofs completely gone or with gaping holes.
An abandoned stroller lay overturned at the side of the road. The village was silent, its residents gone or staying out of sight.
"Three days ago we liberated the village of Storozheve. You can see for yourselves how it was achieved. You can see the destroyed hardware. Glory to Ukraine," a Ukrainian soldier who gave his name only as Artem told Reuters in Storozheve.
A photograph posted online on Monday showed Ukrainian soldiers holding up the yellow and blue Ukrainian flag in front of a damaged home in Storozheve.
The village had been occupied by Russian forces since March 2022, one month after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
About 50 Russian soldiers were killed
The soldiers said about 50 Russian soldiers were killed in a "mopping-up operation" and four were taken prisoner. Reuters was unable to verify the number of Russian casualties, although corpses were still strewn across the road and nearby fields.
Storozheve is one of a cluster of settlements near the Mokry Yali river that Ukraine says its troops have captured since their counteroffensive began.
Reuters also reached the nearby village of Neskuchne on Tuesday, providing the first independent confirmation of the Ukrainian advances since Kyiv began the counteroffensive.