(Kyiv) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday denied the capture by Russian forces of the village of Ryjivka in the Sumy region, which was earlier claimed by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

A push by Russian soldiers in this border sector raises fears of the opening of a new axis of offensive at a time when Ukrainian troops, who lack men and ammunition, have already had to dispatch precious reserves to the neighboring region of Kharkov.

“Regarding the village of Ryjivka, the occupier tried to carry out a propaganda operation there. Since this morning, the Russian flag (raised in the) village has been destroyed and there is no presence of the occupier,” Zelensky said on Telegram.

The leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, a loyalist of Vladimir Putin who sent fighters to Ukraine, assured Sunday evening on Telegram that Russian troops had seized this locality located on the border with Russia.

According to Kadyrov, soldiers of the Chechen Akhmat battalion, “together with servicemen of other Russian units, conducted tactical operations and liberated” the town, inflicting “significant losses” on the Ukrainians, who “retreated.”

Mr. Zelensky for his part asserts that “(Ukrainian) forces are in total control of the situation” in the Sumy region, which had not been the target of a major Russian ground attack since the start of the conflict in 2022.

In the Donetsk region in the east, where most of the fighting is still concentrated, the situation is “more difficult”, the Ukrainian president acknowledged.

Youry Zarko, head of the municipality of Bilopillia to which Ryzhivka is attached, also denied on television the fall of this locality, declaring that no Russian soldiers were there.

In May, Mr. Zelensky said he feared a second Russian assault along the border, after the first launched on May 10 in the Kharkiv region, where the attackers managed to seize several villages before being slowed down by Ukrainian reinforcements.

In recent weeks, the authorities have evacuated residents of certain border towns in the Sumy region in the face of intensified Russian bombing.