Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi made the assessment during a recent visit to the eastern front, the Reuters news agency reported.
Syrskyi acted to solve "problematic issues that prevent effective execution of combat tasks" and took "operational decisions aimed at strengthening our capabilities to deter and inflict damage on the enemy," the Ukrainian army said on Monday.
"The most intense phase of the battle for Bakhmut continues," Syrskyi was quoted as saying. "The situation is constantly difficult. The enemy suffers significant losses in human resources, weapons and military equipment but continues to conduct offensive actions."
Syrskyi praised the resilience of Ukrainian troops in "extremely difficult conditions." He said: "The defence of Bakhmut is due to military necessity ... We are calculating all possible options for the development of events, and will react adequately to the current situation."
Russia regards seizing Bakhmut as a key step towards taking control of Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region, one of the Kremlin’s main war aims, Reuters reported.
The bloody, months-long battle of Bakhmut has been fought from the trenches with sustained artillery and rocket strikes across a heavily mined battlefield, referred to as a “meat grinder” by commanders on both sides, it added.
In this sense, the battle resembles World War I, according to news outlets.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky last week made a morale-boosting visit to the Bakhmut area and handed out medals to soldiers, according to news reports at the time.
Zelensky talks to Polish president, visits Zaporizhzhia region, Dnipro city
On Monday night, Zelensky revealed that he spoke to Polish President Andrzej Duda. The talks focused on "the situation in certain areas of the front" as well as "Ukraine's current defence needs and joint diplomatic efforts for the near future," according to Zelensky.
"We are preparing for important events," the Ukrainian president said.
During the day, Zelensky visited “advanced positions” in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia province, “learning about the operational situation and presenting awards to the military”, his office said.
Later on Monday, Ukraine’s president held a meeting with his commanders in the strategic central city of Dnipro, according to officials.
Later, Zelensky also held talks with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, news outlets reported.
The Ukrainian leader stated that safety could not be guaranteed at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station until Moscow’s forces left.
Zelensky and Grossi met to discuss the management of Europe’s largest nuclear facility and had a “rich exchange,” the IAEA head said, according to Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.
Russian strike on Sloviansk kills two, Kyiv repels overnight drone attack
At least two people were killed and a further 29 injured in a Russian missile strike on Ukraine’s eastern city of Sloviansk on Monday, according to regional officials.
Regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko added that a number of high-rise buildings and offices were damaged or destroyed, The Guardian reported.
Meanwhile, multiple explosions were reported in the capital Kyiv on Monday night, according to the mayor, Vitali Klitschko.
The mayor said blasts were heard in the Sviatoshyn and Obolon districts of the city, with a shop catching fire in Sviatoshyn, The Kyiv Independent reported.
According to preliminary information, Ukraine’s air defence destroyed every Russian drone used for the attack on the capital, Kyiv City Military Administration head Serhii Popko said later on Monday night.
Popko added that remnants of a downed drone had been found in Kyiv’s Sviatoshyn district, where a store caught fire during the attack.
Firefighters have since contained the fire, according to officials.
Popko also said that no casualties have been reported, according to The Kyiv Independent.
Tuesday is day 398 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: Reuters, president.gov.ua, The Guardian, The Kyiv Independent