MALAYA ROHAN, UKRAINE (AFP) - Ukrainian forces on Monday recaptured a small village on the outskirts of Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv, as Kyiv's forces mount counterattacks against a stalling Russian invasion.
Members of the Ukrainian army were clearing and securing destroyed homes in the settlement of Malaya Rohan, about five kilometres from Kharkiv, after pushing out Russian forces.
AFP journalists saw what appeared to be the bodies of two Russian soldiers in the streets of the village that was largely destroyed by the fighting.
The remains of two other soldiers had been thrown into a nearby well.
"There are Russian corpses all over the place," a Ukrainian soldier told AFP, who said more than two dozen soldiers dispatched to Ukraine by Moscow had been killed in the fight for the hamlet.
AFP journalists also observed remnants of several Russian armoured vehicles abandoned in the yards of homes in the village.
Ukraine launched its attack on the Russian-controlled village in the middle of last week, but it took several days to rout Moscow's troops hiding in cellars and nearby forests, the military said.
"Our troops are liberating Malaya Rohan, and this is hugely important because Russian troops are constantly shelling residential areas of Kharkiv from there," the mayor of Ukraine's second-most populated city, Mr Igor Terekhov, said earlier.
Russian and Ukrainian troops meanwhile have been fighting for several days for control of the neighbouring town of Vilkhivka, a few kilometres further north.
Ukrainian officials have also accused the Russian army of using it as a base to shell Kharkiv.
In Malaya Rohan, the situation was relatively calm on Monday, with the deep sounds of shelling in the distance.
An adviser to the head of the president's office, Mr Oleksiy Arestovich, said that Ukrainian forces were counter attacking against invading Russian troops in the northeast, referring to small, tactical offensives.
Moscow's month-long invasion on its pro-democracy neighbour has largely stalled with no major recent advances and Ukrainian forces have even able to counterattack in places.