Ukrainian forces are “managing to stabilise” the situation around the eastern city of Bakhmut, the head of Ukraine’s military says.
The now destroyed city has been the focus of the biggest battle of Russia’s war in recent months.
The front-line situation is “the toughest in the Bakhmut direction”, Valery Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, said after a phone call with British Chief of the Defence Staff Tony Radakin.
“Due to the tremendous efforts of the Defence Forces, we are managing to stabilise the situation,” Zaluzhny said in a post on Facebook late on Friday.
Bakhmut, which once had a population of about 70,000 people, has been virtually emptied of civilians over months of fierce fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces although some residents remain.
Russian forces have been making painstakingly incremental gains around the city, whose symbolic importance has surpassed any military significance as the battle has dragged on.