Bakhmut: Zelensky reports the city has been devastated as Russia declares victory.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky claims Bakhmut has been entirely devastated, but denies that Russia has won the brutal struggle for the city.
When asked if his soldiers had control of the eastern Ukrainian city on Sunday, Mr Zelensky replied, “It’s a pity, it’s a tragedy, but for now, Bakhmut is only in our hearts.”
Later, his staff emphasized that he had not stated that the city had fallen.
On Saturday, the Wagner Russian paramilitary claimed to have taken control of the city.
In a video, its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was posing with several of his warriors, stated that his forces had complete control of the city.
President Vladimir Putin declared on Sunday that Russia had won the battle for Bakhmut and that those troops who excelled will get state rewards.
However, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Operational Command later informed the BBC that Ukraine still controlled numerous buildings south of Bakhmut and was planning a counterattack.
He described Ukraine’s situation as “very difficult” because Russia had destroyed all of the city’s infrastructure, limiting the number of defense positions available.
However, he said that Ukrainian forces were flanking Russian troops and “creating all the conditions on the southern and northern flanks to counterattack and push them back.”
According to analysts, Bakhmut has little strategic relevance for Moscow, but its seizure would be a symbolic win for Russia after the longest struggle of the war in Ukraine thus far.
Since August, the two parties have been at odds over the city.
According to Western estimates, between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian troops were killed or injured in Bakhmut, but Ukraine’s military also paid a high price.
Killed while defending against waves of Russians
Bakhmut’s final Ukrainian streets are under attack.