Russia says its forces push further west after taking Ukraine's Avdiivka

Members of the Russian military operate in a location given as Avdiivka

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian forces have advanced further to the west after taking control of the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, the defence ministry said on Friday.

It said Russian forces had also destroyed a number of Western-provided Ukrainian weapons in the past week including seven British-supplied Storm Shadow cruise missiles, a U.S. Patriot anti-aircraft guided missile and launch vehicle, and 42 HIMARS rockets fired by multiple launch systems.

Reuters could not independently verify battlefield reports.

The frontlines in the war, which started two years ago on Saturday, had not shifted substantially since late 2022 before the taking of Avdiivka, and Russia still controls just under a fifth of Ukrainian territory.

The capture of Avdiivka, following months of fighting with heavy casualties on both sides, was Russia's first significant gain since taking the city of Bakhmut last May.

After taking Avdiivka, units of the "Centre" group of Russian forces "continued advancing in a westerly direction", the defence ministry statement said.

"In cooperation with aviation and artillery, they defeated accumulations of manpower and equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces" in six nearby settlements, it said.

(Reporting by Reuters, writing by Mark Trevelyan, Editing by Andrew Osborn)