Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that the military situation around the city of Bakhmut, besieged by Russian forces for months, was "especially hot."
"Thank you to our soldiers who are fighting in Avdiivka, Maryinka, and Bakhmut. Especially Bakhmut," Zelensky said in his nightly video address. "It is especially hot there."
Russian forces have for months been trying to encircle and capture Bakhmut, a town of 70,000 before the Russian invasion launched over a year ago.
Fighting takes over the center of Bakhmut
Prominent Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said fighting had engulfed the city center. Ukrainian forces had repelled 25 enemy attacks, but Russian forces had captured the AZOM metal plant, which Ukrainian troops had defended for days.
"The enemy is attacking the city center from the north, the east, and the south and is trying to take the city under its full control," Zhdanov, who has close ties to the Ukrainian military, said in a video shown on YouTube.
"In some places, we have been successful and in some places, we have even staged counter-attacks. But the enemy on occasion registers some success in view of the number of its forces and the number of its daily attacks."
In his video address, Zelensky also said that two people had died in a Russian mortar attack near the town of Konotop in the northern region of Sumy.
He noted earlier reports that Russian shelling had killed six people in the city of Kostyantynivka in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. Eleven people were injured.