Ukraine has retaken 7 square kilometers of territory around Bakhmut in the past week, Kyiv military officials said on Monday.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said that the total area of land liberated from Russian forces since the summer offensive began is up to 210 square kilometers.

Kyiv began its highly anticipated offensive against entrenched Russian troops in June, after stockpiling Western weapons, building up its offensive forces, and engaging in “battlefield shaping” with long-distance strikes.

“Over the past week, as a result of the improvement of the operational [tactical] position and alignment of the front line in the Bakhmut direction, 7 square kilometers [2.7 square miles] of territory has been liberated,” she said in a post on Telegram.

Serhiy Cherevaty, the spokesperson for the eastern military command, said Russia was trying to counterattack in the Bakhmut sector and was bringing in reserve forces.

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“The enemy wants to hold on to their positions near Bakhmut and in Bakhmut itself above all,” he told Ukrainian TV.

He added that Russian counterattacks had failed.

There has been less positive news for Ukraine in other areas of the frontlines – in the Kupyansk area of the Kharkiv region, Russian forces have been “actively advancing since the end of last week,” Malyar added.

Ukraine has recently acknowledged difficult battles and called on the United States and other allies to provide long-range weapons and artillery.

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Kyiv has in recent weeks been weakened by an ammunition shortage and vital US aid remains blocked by political wrangling in the US Congress.

Russia has had months to prepare formidable defensive lines in anticipation of Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

A particular difficulty is that posed by mines. An unnamed senior Ukrainian official told the Washington Post that Ukraine has received less than 15 percent of the quantity of mine clearing and engineering materiel it requested ahead of the counteroffensive with some equipment arriving only last week.

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