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Ukraine war latest: Ukraine liberates Andriivka; fighting ongoing in Klishchiivka

by Daria Shulzhenko and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 16, 2023 12:44 AM 6 min read
Servicemen of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade practice assault actions in the trench on Sept. 7, 2023. (Photo: Dmytro Smolienko / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Key developments on Sept. 15:

  • General Staff confirms liberation of Andriivka in Donetsk Oblast
  • Russia attempts to destroy Ukrainian bombers overnight; Ukraine downs all 17 drones
  • Ukraine’s military says Russia accidentally dropped aerial bomb on occupied Nova Kakhovka
  • Belgium to train Ukrainian pilots, provide F-16s for training
  • Bodies of 51 fallen soldiers returned to Ukraine

Ukraine has liberated the village of Andriivka in Donetsk Oblast, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported on Sept. 15.

Andriivka is located around three kilometers south of the embattled Klishchiivka and less than 10 kilometers south of occupied Bakhmut.

"In the course of the assault, (Ukrainian forces) captured Andriivka in the Donetsk Oblast, inflicted significant losses on the enemy regarding manpower and equipment, and gained a foothold in the achieved territories," the General Staff wrote on Facebook.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar announced the liberation of the settlement on Sept. 14. However, the 3rd Assault Brigade fighting around Bakhmut denied it later in the day, saying that the fighting continued in Klishchiivka and Andriivka. Maliar corrected her statement after that.

However, on the morning of Sept. 15, Maliar again reported that Andriivka was liberated by Ukrainian forces throughout fighting the previous day, referring to the report by the General Staff.

"It was difficult, and yesterday's situation changed dynamically several times," Maliar explained the contradicting reports.

Later in the day, the 3rd Assault Brigade also confirmed that the settlement had been retaken, adding that Ukrainian forces dealt a crushing blow to the Russian 72nd Separate Motor Rifle Brigade during battle.

"As a result of a fulminant operation, the Russian garrison of Andriivka was surrounded, cut off from the main forces, and destroyed," the brigade wrote on Telegram.

According to the 3rd brigade's report, the Russian formation lost its chief of intelligence, three commanders, almost all of its infantry, including officers, and a significant amount of equipment.

The General Staff said that Ukrainian forces inflicted heavy losses on Russian troops when liberating Andriivka as a part of offensive operations around the nearby Klishchiivka village, in which they have also achieved partial success.

The Kastuś Kalinoŭski Regiment reported on Sept. 15 that Klishchiivka was also liberated; however, it soon deleted its statement.

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Russia tried to destroy Ukrainian bombers overnight; Ukraine downs all 17 drones

Ukrainian forces shot down all 17 Shahed 131/136 kamikaze drones launched by Russia in the direction of Khmelnytskyi Oblast overnight on Sept. 15, the Air Force reported.

According to the Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat, Russia targeted Ukrainian bombers in its latest attack.

Ihnat said it was Russia’s response to an attack against its shipyard in occupied Sevastopol, Crimea, that took place earlier in the week.

On Sept. 13, Sevastopol's Sevmorzavod Shipyard in occupied Crimea suffered a strike that reportedly destroyed a Russian landing craft and seriously damaged a submarine. British Sky News reported, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western sources, that Ukraine had used the U.K.-supplied Storm Shadow missiles to carry out the attack.

According to the Air Force, Russia launched drones at Ukraine from the Primorsko-Akhtarsk in Russia's Krasnodar Krai.

As the Shaheds approached Khmelnytskyi Oblast along different routes, they were tracked and destroyed by Ukrainian air defenses with the support of fighter aircraft and mobile fire groups, the Air Force reported.

The Khmelnytskyi Oblast hosts the Starokostiantyniv Air Base, where the 7th Tactical Aviation Brigade, operating Su-24 aircraft, is stationed.

Russian forces tried to target the air base in July in a missile strike. Ihnat commented at the time that the attack was ineffective because the Air Force had protocols in place to protect the aircraft.

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Ukraine’s military reports Russia accidentally dropping aerial bomb on occupied Nova Kakhovka

According to the spokesperson of Ukraine's Southern Operational Command, Natalia Humeniuk, Russian forces accidentally dropped an aerial bomb on occupied Nova Kakhovka in Kherson Oblast, causing casualties and damage in residential areas.

Humeniuk said on Sept. 15 that Russian forces intended to fire the bomb at the Ukrainian-held right bank of the Dnipro River, but the launch failed, and the ordnance instead fell on the occupied city.

"In an attempt to deliver another airstrike with guided aerial bombs against the Beryslav area... (Russian forces) dropped one of the guided aerial bombs on Nova Kakhovka in a residential area, causing damage to several apartment buildings," Humeniuk said.

"According to preliminary information, there are casualties among the local population," she said.

According to Humeniuk, Russia is attempting to blame the Ukrainian military for the attack.

The local Telegram channel Nova Kakhovka/Novosti published footage of the incident's consequences, showing extensive damage to residential buildings.

Suspilne news outlet reported that four multi-story buildings were damaged.

Belgium to train Ukrainian pilots, provide F-16s for training

Ludivine Dedonder, Belgian Defense Minister, confirmed in a statement on Sept. 15 that her country joins the international coalition to train Ukrainian personnel on F-16 fighter jets.

Six Ukrainian instructors and four mission planning specialists will undergo training in Belgium to further teach pilots in Ukraine, according to Dedonder.

Also, in 2024, Belgium will deploy two F-16B aircraft in Denmark for advanced training.

Belgium’s Defense Ministry will also send three instructors to a training center for Ukrainian pilots in Denmark, the minister said. A contingent of about 50 Belgian soldiers, primarily technical personnel, will support the deployment.

The first Ukrainian pilots began training on F-16 fighter jets in Denmark earlier in August.

Former Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said it would take at least six to seven months before Ukrainian pilots and technicians can operate the aircraft.

On July 11, Reznikov first reported that Belgium was one of the 11 countries to form the fighter jet coalition, a group of 11 countries that pledged to assist Kyiv with training its pilots on F-16s and acquiring the aircraft.

Greece and the U.S. have also pledged to join the training efforts. So far, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway have promised to provide dozens of their own F-16s to bolster the Ukrainian Air Force.

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Bodies of 51 fallen soldiers returned to Ukraine

On Sept. 15, the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of the Prisoners of War reported that the bodies of 51 fallen Ukrainian soldiers were retrieved from Russian-occupied territories.

According to the report, Ukrainian authorities have repatriated the bodies of 1,832 Ukrainian defenders since the start of the full-scale invasion.

In the previous transfer on Aug. 29, Ukraine managed to retrieve the bodies of 84 fallen soldiers.

The process of retrieving the fallen defenders continues in accordance with the Geneva Convention, the рeadquarters added.

"Ukraine will continue the search and return of the bodies of all our heroes who gave their lives in the battles for Ukraine's independence," the Headquarters wrote on Telegram.

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