(Reuters) - Ukraine reported on Monday its troops had regained more territory on the eastern and southern fronts in its military counteroffensive against Russian forces.
Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said Kyiv's forces had retaken close to 2 square km (0.77 square mile) of land in the past week around the shattered eastern city of Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian troops in May after months of gruelling fighting.
Maliar told Ukrainian television that Ukrainian forces captured part of the village of Opytne south of the city of Avdiivka and had "partial success" near the village of Novomaiorske in the eastern Donetsk region.
"There was movement near Opytne; (Ukrainian) defence forces captured part of this settlement," Maliar said.
She also reported "some success" near Andriivka and Klishchiivka, a village on heights south of Bakhmut seen as critical to securing control of the city.
Kyiv's troops have liberated 49 square km near Bakhmut since the start of the three-month-old counteroffensive, Maliar said.
In the south, where Ukrainian forces are trying to advance toward the Sea of Azov in a drive that is intended to split Russian forces, Maliar said Kyiv had retaken 1.5 square km in the past week.
Maliar added that Ukrainian forces had successes south of the villages of Robotyne and west of Verbove in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Kyiv has retaken villages and settlements in its three-month-old offensive, but its soldiers have been hampered by vast Russian minefields and trenches.
Reuters was not able to verify the reports and Russia has not confirmed the Ukrainian advances.
(Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka. Editing by Gerry Doyle)