Reuters, 26 February – After the Russian Wagner mercenary organization claimed to have taken control of the village in eastern Ukraine close to the scene of severe combat, the Ukrainian military claimed on Sunday that Russia had launched unsuccessful offensives near Yahidne throughout the previous day.

In a morning briefing, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces stated that Russia continues to focus its offensive efforts along the whole Bakhmut front line, where Yahidne is situated.

The months-long struggle for Bakhmut, where only about 5,000 of 70,000 residents remain, has seen some of the bloodiest attritional fighting of Russia’s year-old invasion.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenaries, claimed on Saturday that his troops had captured Yahidne. He had asserted authority over Berkhivka, a neighboring settlement on Bakhmut’s outskirts, on Friday.

The Donetsk region, which Moscow claims it has annexed, is home to six settlements, including Yahidne and Berkhivka. The Ukrainian bulletin, however, claimed that attacks were ongoing and cited “unsuccessful offensives” near these settlements.

Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports of either side.

Ukraine’s Sunday bulletin said Russian forces had shelled the areas of 22 settlements along that part of the front line in Donetsk over the past day, while Ukraine had repelled 71 in Donetsk and elsewhere along the frontline.

The fierce battles along the front lines in Ukraine’s south and east, especially near Bakhmut, now consist of crawling attempts by each side to move the line, sometimes just a few metres at a time.