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Ukraine holds defence as battles rage in Donetsk region, says top commander

Ukraine holds defence as battles rage in Donetsk region, says top commander
February 12, 2023 Web Desk

LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukraine's forces hold defence along the frontline in Donetsk, including of the besieged town of Bakhmut, with the fiercest battles raging for the cities of Vuhledar and Maryinka, Kyiv's top military commander said on Saturday.

Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces, said Russia carries out some 50 attacks daily in Donetsk, a region in Ukraine's southeast that Moscow has been trying to occupy fully.

"Fierce fighting continues in the area of Vuhledar and Maryinka," Zaluzhnyi said in a Telegram message after a call with US General Mark Milley.

"We reliably hold the defence. In some areas of the front we have managed to regain previously lost positions and gained a foothold."

Zaluzhnyi did not specify where the gains were. He added that Ukraine continues to hold Bakhmut, tying to "stabilise" the frontline around the town.

The head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group said on Saturday that his forces are facing fierce resistance around Bakhmut from Ukrainian defenders.

On Friday, Britain said Russian forces were making gains north of Bakhmut, but were having a more difficult time attacking Vuhledar, some 150 kilometres (93 miles) further south.

It is impossible to independently establish the control areas of each side, as fighting along the frontline has slowed in recent months to what Ukraine defence ministry calls "crawling" attempts to move little by little.