Russia on Monday said its forces now fully controlled the town of Maryinka in eastern Ukraine, which President Vladimir Putin hailed as a "success" that would mean less shelling on the nearby Russian-held city of Donetsk.
"Our assault units have today completely liberated the settlement of Maryinka," Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin in a meeting shown on state television.
Piles of rubble and gutted apartment buildings over a wide area could be seen in drone images shown on Russian television that were said to be of Maryinka.
"I want to congratulate you," Putin told Shoigu.
"This is a success" which gives Russian troops "the opportunity to move into a wider operational area".
Shoigu said the control of Maryinka would enable his soldiers to "move further in this direction" and "make it possible to protect Donetsk more effectively from strikes" from Ukrainian forces.
But Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesman for Ukraine's army, said it was "incorrect" to claim that Maryinka was fully controlled by Russian forces.
"The fighting for Maryinka continues," he said, adding that there were still Ukrainian soldiers within the borders of the district of Maryinka.
"The town is completely destroyed," he said.
The claims could not be independently verified.
A counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces which started in June along the front line in the south and east of the country has largely petered out, with few successes.
Russian forces have increased pressure in recent weeks.