Ukrainian forces have recaptured a clutch of territory around the eastern war-battered town of Bakhmut but made no major advances on the southern front, the deputy defense minister said Monday.
Kyiv launched a counteroffensive against Russian troops in June after stockpiling Western weapons and building up offensive infantry units but has conceded that progress has been slow.
“Another three square kilometres (1.1 square miles) have been liberated (around Bakhmut). In total, 43 square kilometres around Bakhmut have been liberated” since the offensive began, Ganna Malyar told state television.
Bakhmut, an industrial town that was once home to some 70,000 people, was captured by Russian forces this summer after months of costly fighting.
Ukrainian forces began pushing back immediately around its flanks and have also been pushing towards the southern city of Melitopol under Russian control.
“In the south, the situation has not undergone significant changes. Our defenders continue to advance in the Berdyansk and Melitopol sectors,” Malyar said.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told AFP last week that his country’s forces will liberate all territory occupied by Russian forces regardless of how long it takes.