Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated on Wednesday that every part of his country seized by Russia’s armed forces would be retaken, as on the eastern front his troops reportedly made territorial gains in Bakhmut, where fighting continues to rage since summer of 2022.

“We will not leave even a centimeter of our homeland to the enemy, tyranny will not reign anywhere,” said the Ukrainian head of state in his evening speech. “We must bring freedom, security and Europe back to all Ukrainian land.”

A few hours earlier, Ukrainian forces announced that they had pushed back Russian units up to 2 kilometers in sectors of the front near Bakhmut, a town of 70,000 inhabitants before the war that has been almost completely destroyed.

“We are conducting effective counterattacks there,” Oleksandr Sirsky, the commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, assured via Telegram.

He explained that units of the Russian mercenary company Wagner in Bakhmut were replaced in some areas by units of the regular army. These units, which are less well trained, were defeated, he added, adding that “the battle for Bahamut continues.”

Andriy Biletsky, the founder of the Azov Order, reported via Telegram that the recaptured area had been completely cleared of Russian forces, that at least two Russian “brigades” had been defeated and taken prisoner.

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is reportedly at loggerheads with senior Russian military officers, has expressed concern that his men will be surrounded in the fighting around Bakhmut, again complaining that ammunition promised to him by commanders has not arrived. .

“Given the lack of ammunition, the ‘meat machine’ is now threatening to turn in the opposite direction,” Mr Prigozhin warned via Telegram yesterday.

Because of her high casualty numbers, he continued, Wagner needed flanking support from regular army units — they themselves were reportedly pushed back as far as 2 kilometers on the Ukrainian side.

“There is now a serious risk of Wagner encirclement (units) due to the collapse of the edges of the formation,” Mr Prigozhin insisted.