Ukrainian forces have managed to blunt Russia’s offensive in and around the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut, where the situation is stabilizing, commander in chief General Valery Zaluzhniy said on Saturday
Separately, Britain’s defense ministry said the months-long Russian assault on the city had stalled, mainly as a result of heavy troop losses.
Bakhmut is a major Russian target as it bids to fully capture Ukraine’s industrialized Donbas region. At one point Russian commanders expressed confidence the city would fall soon but such claims have tailed off amid heavy fighting.
“The Bakhmut direction is the most difficult. Thanks to the titanic efforts of the defense forces, the situation is being stabilized,” Zaluzhniy said in a post on Telegram after a conversation with British counterpart Tony Radakin.
Russian attacks in and around Bakhmut have dropped to fewer than 20 a day compared to 30 or more in recent days, the Novoe Vremia online news outlet cited Ukrainian military spokesperson Serhiy Cherevaty as saying.
Pro-Moscow forces are also attacking positions further south at Avdiivka on the outskirts of the Russian-held city of Donetsk, as well as further north, at Svatove.
The British defense ministry, in a daily update, said Russia most likely wanted to stabilize its front lines and would adopt a more defensive operational stance.
The general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said in a Facebook post that Russian attacks in and around Avdiivka had been repelled on Saturday, but gave few details.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
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