The Ukrainian Armed Forces have half-encircled the ruined front-line city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast and maintain control over part of it, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar wrote on Telegram on May 21.
The enemy was unable to encircle Bakhmut and has lost some of "dominating elevations" around the city, according to her.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian soldiers are continuing to move along the flanks in Bakhmut's suburbs, complicating the "life" of the invaders in the city.
"Our troops have half-encircled the city that enabled us to eliminate the occupiers. That's why the enemy is forced to defend its position in the city," her message reads.
The Defence Forces are still controlling industrial and infrastructure facilities and private houses’ areas in Bakhmut as well as Litak District, Malyar said.
However, the city has been almost completely destroyed by Russian attacks, Operational Command East spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi said. Nevertheless, the south-western part of the city remains under the Ukrainian army's control, he said.
Commenting on the situation in Bakhmut to Suspilne TV, Cherevatyi said that capturing the ruined city would be of no use for Russia, either militarily or politically.
The Ukrainian forces are trying to push the invaders back along the flanks, do not give them any rest and launch limited counter-offensive efforts, when possible, he said, explaining the current state of the battle for Bakhmut.
Numerous media reports appeared on May 21 that the Ukrainian PresidentVolodymyr Zelenskyy had allegedly confirmed that Bakhmut had been captured by Russia.
The presidential spokesperson Serhiy Nykyforov clarified that journalists had misunderstood the state leader's words.
Yevgeny Prygozhin, the owner of the Wagner Group mercenary company, has also claimed to be in full control of Bakhmut. However, his statement was refuted by the Ukrainian military.
Mediazone publisher Petro Verzilov also denied that the city had been seized by Russia, posting a video shot in a trench in one of the western neighbourhoods.
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