Zelenskiy: Fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine

STORY: "We are holding our positions in these and a few other areas in the Donetsk region," he said in a video address.

Russian forces have repeatedly launched attacks against Bakhmut and nearby Avdiivka in the Donetsk region but are being pushed back with what Kyiv says are heavy losses.

Bakhmut has been an important target for Russia's armed forces in a slow advance through the Donetsk region since Russia took the industrial towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July.

"The Russian army has spent already so many lives of its people and so many ammunition that this probably tops the figures of the two Chechen wars taken together," Zelenskiy said.

On Friday, Ukrainian forces downed eight Iranian drones and two Russian missiles, the president added.