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Ukrainian forces hold the initiative on the battlefield in the Bakhmut direction despite heavy Russian artillery fire, Serhii Cherevatyi, the spokesman for Ukraine's Eastern Military Command, said on Aug. 8.
"The Bakhmut direction remains to be a sector where our Defense Forces hold the initiative," Cherevatyi said on television.
"The enemy is desperately resisting, using all types of artillery, from mortars to multiple-launch rocket systems," he added.
According to the spokesperson, Russian forces shelled Ukrainian positions 508 times and launched six air strikes during the day.
Some 16 combat engagements occurred, leaving 65 Russian soldiers killed, 120 wounded, and three captured, Cherevatyi said. Russian losses also included a tank, a Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer, a Msta-B howitzer, an ammunition warehouse, five trucks, and a communications hub, he specified.
According to Cherevatyi, the quality and precision of Ukrainian artillery crews surpass the quantitative advantage of their Russian counterparts.
The Bakhmut direction remains one of the main sectors of the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive. The Ukrainian military reported advances along the southern and northern flanks of the city, which fell to Russian forces in late May.
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi said on July 20 that the conditions are right for Ukraine to retake Bakhmut. While not giving a clear timeframe, he said that the operation will be attempted "as soon as possible."
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Aug. 1. that Russia is concentrating its forces along the eastern front line, namely in the Kupiansk, Lyman, and Svatove directions, trying to pull Ukrainian forces away from Bakhmut and stop their advance in that area.