KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine reported heavy fighting in the eastern region of Donetsk on Friday and a military spokesman said Ukrainian forces had gained more ground near the devastated city of Bakhmut.
“The situation is tense on all areas of the front,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on the Telegram messaging app.
Naming eastern areas where fighting has been fierce for months, she said: “The enemy continues to focus its main efforts on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivsky and Mariinka directions, heavy fighting continues.”
She said Ukrainian troops were repelling the Russian attacks.
Reuters was unable to verify the situation on the battlefield.
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Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for Ukraine’s East military command, said Ukrainian forces had advanced 1.2 km (0.75 miles) near Bakhmut over the past 24 hours.
“We took advantage of the enemy’s rotation measures and the fact that units which entered do not know the area fully, and failed to conduct appropriate reconnaissance and coordination. We struck,” he told Ukrainian television. “We have been carrying out assaults for several days.”
Over the past several days, Ukrainian forces have made their most rapid gains around the edges of Bakhmut, aiming to encircle the ruined eastern city which Russian forces seized control of last month.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said it was continuing to repel Ukrainian attacks in the southern region of Zaporizhzhya, Russian news agencies reported.
Ukrainian officials made little mention of the situation in Zaporizhzhya but the head of the president’s office said a junior nurse and a plumber had been killed by Russian shelling of a hospital in Huliai Pole in the Zaporizhzhya region.
(Reporting by Olena Harmash, Editing by Timothy Heritage)
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