Ukrainian forces have retaken more than 10 Russian-held positions on the northern and southern outskirts of Bakhmut, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on May 14.
In a Telegram post, Maliar said that Ukrainian forces on May 14 also liberated a considerable amount of area in a forest near Ivanivske, a village southwest of Bakhmut, and captured an undisclosed number of Russian soldiers from various units.
The report of Ukrainian progress near Bakhmut comes a few days after Ukrainian authorities confirmed advancing up to two kilometers near Bakhmut. Eastern Operational Command spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi said Russian forces were already showing signs of exhaustion on the battlefield.
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.
In its daily briefing, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian forces were launching "mass attempts" over the past few days to make a breakthrough north and south of Bakhmut. It claimed that it repelled all the attacks.
While Russian forces have taken around 90% of the city's urban area, Ukrainian forces are holding onto an area comprised of high-rise apartment buildings in the city's west.