Ukraine is gaining ground in Bakhmut for the 1st time in months amid Russian disarray

Ukrainian commanders, Russian military bloggers, and Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin agree that Ukrainian forces have broken through Russian defensive lines outside Bakhmut and reclaimed several square miles of territory since Tuesday. But Russia's defense ministry disputed those reports Thursday night, claiming "the statements spread by individual Telegram channels about 'defense breakthroughs' in various sections of the line of contact are not true."

Before Tuesday's modest breakthrough, "Ukraine's forces had not won any ground in the fight for Bakhmut since pushing Russian forces off a key access road two months ago," The New York Times reports. Prigozhin, who has been publicly and ostentatiously feuding with Russia's defense ministry for months, stepped up his complaints and attacks in May, as a push by his paramilitary forces and Russian troops to capture Bakhmut lost momentum. Wagner fighters are battling inside Bakhmut and Russian soldiers are trying to advance on the flanks.

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