There's growing evidence that the town of Volnovakha in eastern Ukraine has fallen to Russian forces and their allies in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic.
The city had been surrounded almost since the beginning of Russia's invasion but had been fiercely defended by Ukrainian forces.
The Russian defense ministry's spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, said that a "group of troops of the Donetsk People's Republic liberated the city of Volnovakha" and several surrounding settlements.
Konashenkov said that the militia had advanced about six kilometers (about 3.7 miles) and continued to tighten the encirclement of the besieged city of Mariupol.
Some social media videos from the city showed Russian soldiers and vehicles in several neighborhoods, as well as abandoned Ukrainian tanks. Other videos showed widespread destruction in Volnovakha.
The apparent fall of Volnovakha — which is halfway between Donetsk and Mariupol — allows Russian forces to consolidate their control of the Donbas region.
Earlier Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Volnovakha remained completely blocked to humanitarian relief convoys, but the Ukrainian authorities have not acknowledged that the city has fallen under Russian control.