The Ukrainian military on August 22 said its forces have liberated a strategic village in the south after two months of fierce fighting as Russia continued to rain missiles and drones on several regions of Ukraine, killing at least one person and wounding several others.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on August 22 that Ukrainian troops had liberated Robotyne, a village along an important road leading to Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhya region.
Melitopol, known as the “gateway to Crimea,” was captured by Russian troops in March last year after several days of heavy fighting.
“Soldiers of the 47th brigade battled their way into Robotyne,” Malyar wrote on Telegram.
The 47th Brigade posted a video online showing tearful women greeting its soldiers and said it was organizing the evacuation of civilians from the village.
The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) confirmed that Ukrainian troops had achieved “significant tactical successes” in Robotyne on August 20-21.
If Ukrainian forces advance and retake Melitopol, located at the intersection of two important highways and a major railway hub, they could use the city as a springboard to liberate the whole Zaporizhzhya region.
The Ukrainian military and regional officials on August 22 reported Russian drone and missile strikes on Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhya, Kryviy Rih, and Kupyansk as Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had repelled drone attacks on the Moscow and Bryansk regions while temporarily closing three airports in the capital.
In the northern city of Chernihiv, one man was killed by Russian shelling, regional Governor Vyacheslav Chaus said. On August 19, at least seven people, including a child, were killed and 129 were wounded in a Russian missile strike on the city.
WATCH: Residents of the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv gathered at makeshift memorials on August 20 to honor those killed a day earlier in a Russian missile strike. At least seven people died, including 22-year-old Nazar Yushchenko and a 6-year-old girl named Sofia. Her mother, Olha Holynska, explained how she comforted her wounded daughter until the end.
Also on August 22, one person was wounded and 20 buildings were damaged in a Russian missile attack on Kryviy Rih, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Governor Serhiy Lysak said on Telegram.
Russia also struck the southern city of Zaporizhzhya overnight, causing damage but no casualties, the secretary of the Zaporizhya City Council, Anatoliy Kurtev, reported early on August 22.
“Overnight, the enemy attacked Zaporizhzhya again. As a consequence of the blast wave, four high-rise buildings sustained damage,” Kurtev wrote on Telegram. Russian forces have repeatedly launched attacks on Zaporizhzya.
Russian troops shelled Kupyansk and Vovchansk in the eastern Kharkiv region overnight, Oleh Synyehubov, the region’s governor, said on August 22.
“Four residential buildings were damaged and destroyed,” Synyehubov said on Telegram, adding that a woman was slightly wounded.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry said early on August 22 that four drones were shot down overnight — two over the Moscow region and two over the Bryansk region, some 400 kilometers southwest of Moscow.
Russian state news agency TASS reported that three Moscow airports — Vnukovo, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo — briefly suspended flights, without giving a reason for the suspension.
Moscow airports have suspended flights several times recently due to what authorities said were Ukrainian drone attacks.
The ministry also early on August 22 said that a Russian warplane destroyed what it said was a “Ukrainian reconnaissance boat” that was sailing in the vicinity of Russian gas production facilities in the Black Sea. The claim could not be independently verified.
On the battlefield, heavy fighting has been continuing in the east and south of Ukraine, with the General Staff of the Ukrainian military reporting that a Russian counterattack had been repelled in Bakhmut, the city in the eastern region of Donetsk that was battered by months of heavy fighting before it fell to Russian forces in May.
On the diplomatic front, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on August 22 that he had “an open, honest, and fruitful meeting” with Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.
“Good conversation on respect for the UN Charter and the inviolability of borders. On our nations’ shared future in the common European home. On developing our relations, that is in our mutual interest,” Zelenskiy said in a post on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter.
Serbia, a traditional ally of Russia, has bucked EU pressure to join Western sanctions to punish Moscow for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Ukraine-Balkans summit held in Athens, the Ukrainian Presidency said.