Ukrainian troops have advanced by more than a kilometre in the last day against Russian forces near the eastern city of Bakhmut, a military spokesperson said on Friday.
His comments were the latest by Kyiv signalling that the counteroffensive it launched in early June is gradually making progress although Russian accounts of fighting in the Bakhmut sector differ from Ukraine’s.
“The defence forces continue to hold the initiative there, putting pressure on the enemy, conducting assault operations, advancing along the northern and southern flanks,” military spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi told Ukrainian television.
“In particular, over the past day, they have advanced more than one kilometre (0.62 mile).”
A spokesperson for the Ukrainian armed forces general staff said Ukrainian forces had had “partial success” near the village of Klishchiivka, just southwest of Bakhmut.
Ukrainian military analysts have said that securing Klishchiivka would help Ukraine take back the shattered small city of Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May after 10 months of heavy fighting.
Russia’s RIA news agency cited a Russian army source as saying earlier this week that Moscow’s forces had repelled a Ukrainian attack on Klishchiivka and were mopping up remaining Ukrainian troops in the area.
Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield situation.
Moscow, which began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine over 16 months ago, sees Bakhmut as a stepping stone to attacking other cities. Russia still holds Bakhmut but both sides say fighting in the area is intense, with Ukrainian forces hoping to encircle the city.
Kyiv says it has taken back a cluster of villages in the south since launching its counteroffensive but that fierce resistance and minefields have slowed its forces’ progress. Russia still holds large parts of east and southeast Ukraine.