Bogdanivka lies between Bakhmut and the front-line town of Chasiv Yar, which has been hotly contested for weeks. The village was “completely liberated,” said the Defense Ministry in Moscow. Capturing Chasiv Yar would give the Russian army the opportunity to target the city of Kramatorsk, an important hub for train traffic and logistics for Ukrainian troops.

The Ukrainian army did not mention Bogdanivka in its daily report, but recently described the situation near Chasiv Yar as “difficult and tense.” Before the conflict began, around 13,000 people lived in Chasiv Yar. Because of the fighting, most of them have fled and the city is largely destroyed.

The Russian army has been on the offensive for months at various points along the approximately 1,000-kilometer-long front line in the east and south of Ukraine. The Ukrainian army, on the other hand, is suffering from a lack of ammunition and difficulties recruiting new soldiers.

On Saturday, after months of blockade, the US House of Representatives approved an aid package worth around $61 billion (around €57 billion) for Ukraine. The bills still need to be passed by the Senate and then signed by President Joe Biden.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) called the US vote on Sunday evening at the Hanover Trade Fair “a very clear message – also to the Russian President, by the way, that he should not expect that he will be able to sit out this war because of the support from Europe or the USA is declining”.

Before the vote, the Kremlin had downplayed the importance of US aid to Ukraine: This would “in no way influence the development of the situation on the front,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova added on Sunday: “The feverish attempts to save the neo-Nazi regime of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are doomed to failure,” she said.

According to Zelenskyj, the US decision to provide further aid to Ukraine prevents a “second Afghanistan”. “This aid will strengthen Ukraine and send a strong signal to the Kremlin that it will not be the second Afghanistan,” he said in an interview with US broadcaster NBC on Sunday.

However, according to an assessment by the Washington Institute for War Questions (ISW), the aid, including $14 billion for training and equipping the Ukrainian army, will “only have an impact on the situation at the front in a few weeks.”

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported that a Russian naval ship was fired off the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. “Today the Ukrainian Navy hit the Russian rescue ship ‘Kommuna’ in the temporarily occupied Crimea,” the ministry said in online service X. The extent of the damage is still being examined.

Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk said the ship was “no longer capable of carrying out its tasks.” “This will continue until the Russians have no more ships or leave Crimea,” he threatened. Video images were published on online networks that appear to show a ship in flames in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

The Moscow-appointed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvoshayev, had previously said that the Russian army had repelled “an attack by an anti-ship missile” on a ship in Sevastopol in southeast Crimea. Fallen rocket fragments caused a small fire, which was quickly extinguished. The governor did not name the ship.

Ukrainian authorities had previously reported further deaths and injuries in renewed Russian attacks. According to local prosecutors, Russia shelled the city of Ukrainsk in the eastern Donetsk region on Sunday. An 82-year-old woman was killed and four men between the ages of 21 and 53 were injured. Several residential buildings were damaged in a rocket attack on the southern Odessa region.