- Russian forces have been fighting a battle for months in Bakhmut, a town in eastern Ukraine.
- The fighting reduced the city to rubble and claimed thousands of lives.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy seemed to confirm at the G7 summit that Ukraine is more in control of Bakhmut.
Ukraine no longer controls the city of Bakhmut, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared to confirm on Sunday, marking a major turning point in the deadly battle of more than 8 months that reduced the city to rubble and left thousands dead. lives.
During a meeting with President Joe Biden on Sunday at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Zelenskyy told reporters he believed Ukraine had lost control of the city. His statement came hours after the Russian Defense Ministry backed claims by paramilitary group leader Wagner that Russia had seized the city.
“I think not,” Zelenskyy said. “But you must understand that there is nothing. … For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts.”
Russia has fought a bloody battle in the eastern Ukrainian city since August, and for months Ukraine’s resolute determination to stay and defend Bakhmut seemed to bear fruit, as the leader of the Russian military group for hire, Yevgeny Prigozhin, appeared to consider pulling his troops out of town.
Experts told Insider that although the battle was costly for both sides, Ukraine was right to stay and defend the city, denying Russia a symbolic and tactical victory.
Ukraine “has immobilized many Russian troops in Bakhmut, making it impossible to deploy them to other combat zones” in the wider Donbass region, Rajan Menon, nonresident researcher in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank, Insider previously said.
Earlier Saturday, Prigozhin claimed Wagner had taken the city. However, according to CNN, in a Telegram post shared shortly after Prigozhin’s, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that while the situation was “critical”, the battle continued.