Russian forces are advancing within the city of Bakhmut, according to the Ukrainian military and analysis from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
The small, eastern city appears to be close to falling to Russia. Its capture would mark progress for Russian forces, as well as giving them a springboard to target urban areas further west.
“In the Bakhmut direction, the enemy continues to advance,” the Ukrainian military General Staff said on Thursday, also suggesting there is a Russian presence within the city rather than just on the outskirts.
The ISW says Russian forces “advanced within Bakhmut and continued ground attacks around the city.”
Despite Russian advances, the Ukrainian military says it is not planning to withdraw from Bakhmut and is still holding its ground in the city.
“Our defenders repelled attacks in the areas of Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Dubovo-Vasylivka, Bakhmut and Ivanivske,” the General Staff said on Thursday.
Russian forces are reportedly using highly trained fighters from the Wagner mercenary group in the assault on Bakhmut.
Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has said he is skeptical that Ukrainian forces will withdraw from the city, and has told Russian media that the Ukrainian military is transferring large numbers of reserves to the area.