Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military's Eastern Operational Command, confirmed on May 19 that Ukrainian forces were gaining the battlefield initiative near Bakhmut.
Over the past day, Ukrainian troops have advanced up to 500 meters in some areas of the Bakhmut front line, Cherevatyi said, as cited by Ukrainska Pravda news outlet.
"The situation is very difficult in this area but controlled," the military official said on national television. "The enemy continues to carry out assaults in the city itself. Our units also put pressure on the enemy where possible and continue to advance through the territory."
In its latest update on Russia's war against Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War wrote that Ukraine's military had seized the tactical initiative and made "tactically significant" gains around Bakhmut.
"These operations are a continuation of the localized counter-attacks Ukrainian forces have been conducting for some days and do not reflect the start of a major new operation," the D.C.-based think tank clarified.