Ukrainian forces have made incremental gains in blood-stained Bakhmut, provoking a wave of revenge attacks from Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Deputy defence minister, Hanna Maliar, said the Ukrainian military managed to retake nearly two square miles during the past week around the ruined eastern city of Bakhmut.
But Russian troops were continuing their assault around the eastern towns of Kupyansk and Lyman, where she said they were regrouping.
“The Russians have intensified these offensives after success of the Ukrainian army on Bakhmut axis,” she said.
She added: “The Armed Forces are facing complete mining of the territory, cement fortifications of the key heights, (and) constant mortar and artillery shelling,” she said. “Additionally the Russians are densely using aviation.”