The Ukrainian military said on May 21 that the situation in Bakhmut is "extremely difficult," but Ukraine still holds "some buildings" and fortifications in the southwestern part of the destroyed eastern city.
In a commentary to the public broadcaster Suspilne, Eastern Operational Command spokesman Serhiy Cherevaty said that Russian forces have not completely captured Bakhmut yet. He added that the city was so severely destroyed after months of heavy fighting that it wouldn't bring "any military or even political benefit" for the Russians.
The Ukrainian military's report of still controlling small parts of Bakhmut comes a day after the Russian Defense Ministry and Russia's Wagner mercenary group claimed complete control over the city. The claim was immediately denied by the Ukrainian military and Ukrainian authorities.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar, who has reported Ukraine's local advances on the northern and southern outskirts of Bakhmut over the past week, claimed that Ukrainian forces managed to semi-circle the Russians inside the city.
Maliar said that Ukrainian forces continue to advance along the flanks of Bakhmut, forcing Russian troops to lose some positions on "the dominant heights around the city."
According to the official, Ukrainian forces still have control over industrial and infrastructure facilities and the private sector in Bakhmut's Litak district in the city's southwestern part.