Kyiv reports small gains around Bakhmut, decries Russian ‘false information’

KYIV (Reuters): Ukrainian forces have advanced by about 2 km around the eastern city of Bakhmut this week and have not given up any positions there in that time, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Friday.

She urged Ukrainians to disregard what she described as Russian disinformation about the situation in and around Bakhmut, where Ukraine has held on to some parts of the city in about 10 months of fierce fighting.

Some Russian military bloggers reported on Thursday that Ukrainian troops had broken through parts of the front line. Moscow denied the reports and said the situation was under control.

“How does the enemy cover the battles in Bakhmut? (It) praises itself, talks about supposed success and invents stories about our military command,” Maliar wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“At the same time, the enemy gives false information about the lack of weapons, which probably aims to justify the real situation.”

Describing what she called “the real situation” over the past week, she said “the enemy failed to carry out its plans; the enemy suffered great losses of manpower; our defenders advanced 2km (1.2 miles) in the Bakhmut sector; we did not lose a single position in Bakhmut this week.”

Moscow sees Bakhmut as a stepping stone to attacking other Ukrainian cities. Kyiv has said that maintaining the defense of Bakhmut allows Ukraine’s military to prepare an expected counteroffensive.

The head of Russian mercenaries fighting in Bakhmut said on Thursday Ukrainian operations around the city had been partially successful. He has argued with Russian defense officials over what he says has been a lack of ammunition for his forces.