Ukraine's General Staff did not mention fighting in Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast in its evening briefing on May 23 for the first time since last December, suggesting that Wagner Group forces may have advanced further into the city, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update.
At the same time, Ukrainian officials have recently stated that fighting around Bakhmut has decreased as Ukraine conducts limited counterattacks on the city's flanks.
The update cited Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar who stated that combat operations had decreased in and around the city and that Ukrainian forces continue to maintain their positions near the MiG-17 monument in western Bakhmut.
But a Russian military blogger shared a video purporting to show Wagner troops near the monument and claimed that there were no Ukrainian forces in the area, the ISW reported.
Spokesperson for Ukraine's Eastern Group of Forces Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty also said that Ukrainian forces had advanced 200- 400 meters along the city's flanks and that Ukraine still controlled buildings and fortifications in southwestern Bakhmut, according to the ISW update.
Meanwhile, another Russian military blogger denied reported that Ukraine had made gains during its counterattacks northwest and southwest of the city.