Putin claims capture of Bakhmut as Ukraine insists battle ‘not over’

Vladimir Putin has hailed his first main victory because the early days of the invasion of Ukraine, claiming Russian forces had captured the japanese metropolis of Bakhmut regardless of Kyiv insisting the battle “was not over”.

Russia’s president stated the paramilitary group Wagner had seized the Ukrainian metropolis with assist from Russia’s armed forces after a bloody, months-long battle that claimed greater than 100,000 casualties and decreased town to ruins.

“All who distinguished themselves shall be put ahead for state awards,” the Kremlin stated in an announcement launched in a single day on Sunday.

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The battle of Bakhmut has been the longest and bloodiest fought in Ukraine since Putin launched his full-scale invasion in February 2022. Heavy combating erupted there final Could, however intensified in autumn and thru winter.

It was not instantly clear whether or not Russia had captured the entire metropolis. Ukraine’s navy stated that combating continued on Bakhmut’s western outskirts and Kyiv’s counter-attacks on Russian forces continued on the northern and southern flanks, the place they’ve gained some 10 sq. miles of territory over the previous week.

Talking on the G7 summit of superior economies in Japan, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president, disputed Russia’s declare that it had taken the entire metropolis however prompt any victory could be Pyrrhic.

“You must perceive, there’s nothing. They destroyed all the pieces. There aren’t any buildings,” Zelenskyy stated. “It’s a pity, it’s a tragedy however for at the moment Bakhmut is barely in our hearts [ . . . ] There’s simply floor and numerous useless Russians. However they got here to us.”

 a company linked to the chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin -- shows Yevgeny Prigozhin holding a Russian national flag in front of his soldiers holding Wagner Group’s flags in Bakhmut,
Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner, stands with troopers in Bakhmut © Telegram @concordgroup_official//AFP by way of Getty Pictures

The siege was led by caterer-turned-warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner’s founder, who has been embroiled in a bitter public spat over provides with Russia’s basic workers for many of this yr. He stated on Saturday that his group had captured Bakhmut with none important help from the common armed forces.

Prigozhin recorded his video in entrance of the Bakhmut railway station, greater than two miles from the western entrance of town he claimed to have seized. Artillery hearth was nonetheless audible close by.

Ukraine’s navy denied Russia had taken management over town. “Over the previous 24 hours the enemy carried out unsuccessful assaults,” the Ukrainian navy stated on Sunday. “The battle for town of Bakhmut is just not over.”

Serhiy Cherevatyi, a navy spokesman for Ukraine’s japanese command, informed the Monetary Occasions by telephone on Saturday that whereas Russian forces management most of Bakhmut, heavy combating was nonetheless underneath means on Chaikovskoho Road, a major highway into town, and a handful of blocks alongside its western and northwestern edge.

Wagner had not established full management of Bakhmut, he insisted, regardless of Prigozhin’s claims. Cherevatyi argued that over the course of the battle “the Ukrainian military has damaged Wagner”.

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