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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that the situation on the front lines in the east of the country was getting tougher and Russia was throwing more and more troops into battle.

Russian forces are slowly gaining ground in the Donbas region, encircling the city of Bakhmut north of Donetsk and battling to take control of a nearby road which is a major supply route for Ukrainian forces. They are also trying to capture Vuhledar, southwest of Donetsk.

"I've often had to say the situation at the front is tough, and is getting tougher, and it's that time again. ... The invader is putting more and more of his forces into breaking down our defences," Zelenskiy said in a video address.

Zelensky says fighting ongoing in Ukraine's Soledar

"It is very difficult now in Bakhmut, Vuhledar, Lyman and other directions," he continued.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar wrote on Telegram that Russian efforts to break the defences in Bakhmut and Lyman had failed.

Lyman, which lies just to the north of Bakhmut, was liberated by Ukrainian forces last October.

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