Ukrainian Forces have seized the initiative from Russians in the Bakhmut direction and try to counterattack. Today, the Ukrainian troops have advanced to a distance of up to 500 m in various areas hear Bakhmut, said Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, speaking on the Ukrainian TV.
The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that, during counter-offensive operations on May 18, Ukrainian forces achieved tactically significant gains in the Bakhmut area. The analysts cited reports by several Russian "military bloggers" that Ukrainian forces had broken through Russian defense lines south and southwest of Ivanivske (6 km west of Bakhmut) and northwest of Klishchiivka (6 km southwest of Bakhmut).
According to ISW, the Russians have retreated from positions north of Sacco and Vanzetti (15 km north of Bakhmut) to positions south of this village, but Ukrainian troops have not yet entered the village.
Commenting on this information, Cherevaty noted that the situation in the Bakhmut direction remains difficult but controlled.
"We see the intentions of the enemy, anticipate and preempt them. We can say that yes - there is a certain truth to the fact that we have seized the initiative from them and try to counterattack," he said.
Cherevaty added that Bakhmut remains a priority target for Russians. During the day, there were 10 firefights, 477 Russian artillery strikes and 9 Russian air raids. 141 Russian soldiers were killed, 220 were injured and one was captured.
Cherevaty also stressed that over the past day, Ukrainian troops managed to advance up to 500 meters in different directions.