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Military official: Ukrainian forces advance on Bakhmut flanks despite Russia's 'fierce resistance'
In the past two days, Ukraine's Armed Forces have advanced on the flanks around Bakhmut from 350 meters to 2 kilometers "in some places," a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military's Eastern Operational Command said on May 15.
"However, the enemy is fiercely resisting," Serhii Cherevatyi said on national television, as cited by Interfax Ukraine.
According to the official, 34 combat clashes occurred in the Bakhmut area over the previous 24 hours, with Russian forces firing at Ukrainian positions 479 times. During this period, the Ukrainian military reportedly killed 149 Russian soldiers, wounded 160, and captured six more in the fighting over Ukraine's key eastern city.
"In fact, Bakhmut is now a bifurcation point, a point of resolution of this conflict, because if the enemy does not find an opportunity to replenish its forces there, then we will simply destroy it," added Cherevatyi.
Ukrainian forces have recently retaken more than 10 Russian-held positions on the northern and southern outskirts of Bakhmut, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on May 14.
Recent failures around Bakhmut are likely connected with the escalating feud between the Russian Defense Ministry and Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group, which has led the assault on Bakhmut for months.
While Wagner leads the attacks inside the city, which have themselves stalled, the flanks where Ukrainian forces have advanced are manned by regular army units.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed a renewed wave of Ukrainian counterattacks on May 14 and admitted that two colonels – including a brigade commander – were recently killed in the Battle of Bakhmut.