The eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is said to have fallen after months of fighting. Moscow announces the capture, while Zelenskyy causes confusion with an ambiguous statement.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has caused confusion with statements about a possible loss of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. “Today, Bachmut is only in our hearts,” said Selenskyj on Sunday on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan. There was “nothing” left there, he said, without first providing more detailed information on the military situation on site.
On Saturday, Russia declared the month-long battle for Bakhmut to be over and announced that it would completely capture the city in eastern Ukraine. The private army Wagner completely conquered the city with the help of artillery and air support from the Russian armed forces, the Ministry of Defense in Moscow announced on Sunday night.
The Ukrainian leader’s statements initially appeared to confirm Russia’s claim that it had captured the city. However, Selenskyj’s answer referred to the first part of the question, his spokesman Serhiy Nykyforow said on Sunday on the online network Facebook. On the contrary, with his answer the President denied that the city had been taken by Russian troops, he explained. Zelenskyj’s answer therefore referred to the destruction of the city, not its capture by Moscow.
The Endless Battle
New satellite images document the total destruction in the hard-fought area of Bachmut
Putin congratulates Prigozhin
Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, congratulated the Wagner units and the army as early as Saturday, Russia’s Tass news agency reported, citing a Kremlin statement.
A few hours earlier, the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had announced the conquest of Bakhmut. “The operation to take Bachmut took 224 days,” he said. By May 25, the Wagner Group fighters would survey the city, “create the necessary lines of defense,” and then hand over Bakhmut to the Russian army.
Kyiv is said to be still fighting
The Ukrainian government, on the other hand, announced that the fighting was ongoing. “Heavy fighting in Bakhmut. The situation is critical,” wrote Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar on Telegram. Ukrainian groups would still control some industrial and infrastructure facilities.
70,000 people once lived in Bachmut. The battle for the city is believed to be the longest and bloodiest since the Russian operation in Ukraine began in February 2022. Both sides are believed to have suffered heavy casualties. The fall of Bakhmut would bring Moscow an important victory after a series of defeats.
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