CHASIV YAR, Ukraine — Lined up in the dark in civilian vehicles, lights dimmed, a company of soldiers waited silently at the side of a road. Farther behind, a second company was parked, an occasional light inside a car revealing the face of a soldier. Still farther back, a third company was moving into place.
After months of epic struggle, the fight over the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut had seemed in recent days to be reaching a climax, with Russian forces close to encircling the city and some Ukrainian units pulling out.
Then, early Saturday, Ukrainian assault brigades went on the attack. Over the weekend, hundreds of troops joined the counteroffensive, mounting assaults from the ground and pounding Russian positions with artillery from the surrounding hills.