Ukraine says it is advancing near eastern city of Bakhmut
PHOTO CAPTION: A Ukrainian serviceman of the 57th Kost Hordiienko Separate Motorised Infantry Brigade fires a 2S22 Bohdana self-propelled howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at a position near the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine July 5, 2023. REUTERS/Sofiia Gatilova/File Photo
KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine said on Friday its troops had advanced by more than a kilometre near the eastern city of Bakhmut in the past day of fighting against Russian forces.
The comments were the latest by Kyiv signalling that the counteroffensive it launched in early June is gradually making progress although Russian accounts of fighting in the Bakhmut sector differ from Ukraine's.
"The defence forces continue to hold the initiative there, putting pressure on the enemy, conducting assault operations, advancing along the northern and southern flanks," Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern military command, told Ukrainian television.
"In particular, over the past day, they have advanced more than one kilometre (0.62 mile)."
General Oleksander Syrskyi, who is in charge of Ukraine's land forces, also said Ukrainian troops were pushing forward in the direction of Bakhmut.
"The defence forces are making progress and advancing," he said, adding that some territory had been regained but providing no details.
A spokesperson for the armed forces general staff said Ukrainian forces had had "partial success" near the village of Klishchiivka, just southwest of Bakhmut.
Ukrainian military analysts have said that securing Klishchiivka would help Ukraine take back Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May after months of fighting.
Russia's RIA news agency cited a Russian army source as saying this week that Moscow's forces had repelled a attack on Klishchiivka and were mopping up remaining Ukrainian troops in the area.
Reuters could not verify the battlefield situation.
Moscow, which began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, sees Bakhmut as a stepping stone to attacking other cities. Russia still holds Bakhmut but Ukrainian forces hope to encircle the city.
Kyiv says it has taken back some villages in the south since launching its counteroffensive, but Russia still holds large parts of eastern and southeastern Ukraine.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, additional reporting by Anna Pruchnicka, Editing by Timothy Heritage)