According to international military experts, Russia has recently gained ground in the battle for the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

Russian forces have taken an additional five percent of Bakhmut in the past seven days and currently control nearly 65 percent of the area, the Washington-based Institute for War Studies (ISW) wrote in its latest report.

Statements in Russian media reports that the Wagner mercenary group took over an industrial complex in the north of the city roughly corresponded to photo evidence of a Russian presence on the site, the report said.

Photographs taken by the Russian agency Ria Novosti on the industrial complex showed how their military correspondent was moving about the site – apparently without any problems. According to the ISW, the fact that journalists are apparently relatively safe there suggests that the Wagner Group has the area sufficiently under its control.

Based on visual evidence, the US think tank also considers the assertion, widespread in military blogs, that Wagner had advanced closer to the city center and taken the municipal market and reached the Palace of Culture to be plausible. Shots by Ukrainian forces also showed exchanges of fire with Russian troops in the center of the city.

The eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has been heavily contested for months. It is besieged by Russian troops, but is still held by Ukraine because of its high strategic importance.