The Ukrainian military on Friday claimed that troops were making advances against Russian positions around the eastern city of Bakhmut amid fierce fighting.
The battle for the city in the Donetsk region has been the longest and bloodiest since the war began in February 2022.
It has little strategic value, but is important symbolically both for Kiev and Moscow.
The capture of Bakhmut would bring Russia slightly closer to its goal of controlling the whole of Donetsk, one of four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine annexed by Russia last September following referendums widely condemned outside Russia as a sham.
Speaking to Ukrainian TV on Friday, military spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi said: “The defence forces continue to hold the initiative there (Bakhmut), putting pressure on the enemy, conducting assault operations, advancing along the northern and southern flanks.
“In particular, over the past day, they (Russian troops) have advanced more than one kilometre.”
On a similar note, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian armed forces general staff said troops had had “partial success” near the village of Klishchiivka, just southwest of Bakhmut, the Independent reported.
Friday’s development comes just over a month after Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar had confirmed that Ukrainian troops were making advances on the eastern front around Bakhmut, which she described as the “epicentre of hostilities”.
In May, the US had said that it believed more than 20,000 Russian soldiers had been killed in the battle for Bakhmut and another 80,000 wounded.
Ukraine however, has not released figures on its casualties in Bakhmut, but admitted to sustaining heavy losses.
There were about 70,000 people living in Bakhmut before the invasion, but only a few thousand remain in the devastated city, once best known for its salt and gypsum mines and huge winery.