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  4. Ukraine clarifies Zelesnkyy's statement: 'Russia's Wagner hasn't claimed Bakhmut, fight is still going on'

Ukraine clarifies Zelesnkyy's statement: 'Russia's Wagner hasn't claimed Bakhmut, fight is still going on'

The confusion erupted when a reporter asked Zelenskyy about Russia's recent claim on Bakhmut. In a reply, the Ukranian President told reporters, "I think no. For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts."

Ajeet Kumar Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Hiroshima Updated on: May 21, 2023 16:41 IST
G7 Summit
Image Source : AP Zelenskyy during a closed-door meeting in Hiroshima

Hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Bakhmut remained "only in our hearts", it was understood that the war-torn nation has lost one more city to Russia. But, later, it was clarified that the Ukranian troops were still fighting for control of the eastern city of Bakhmut.

The confusion erupted when a reporter asked Zelenskyy about Russia's recent claim on Bakhmut. In a reply, the Ukranian President told reporters, "I think no. For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts." The statement was widely circulated in international media as "Zelenskyy confirmed that his forces have lost the city to Russian private army called Wagner group". 

However, hours later, his press secretary said that the leader was responding to a different part of the question.

Subsequently, Zelenskyy also clarified that Ukraine's military personnel in Bakhmut are "accomplishing a very important mission" but denied sharing further details. "The city is not occupied by Russia as of today. There are no two or three interpretations of those words," BBC quoted Zelenskyy as saying. 

Putin announced to award Wagner group

Earlier on Saturday, Russia's private army's head Yevgeny Prigozhin said the city came under complete Russian control. He spoke flanked by about half a dozen fighters, with ruined buildings in the background and explosions heard in the distance.

Hours later, the Russian military also released a statement saying the region was under their control. Subsequently, Russian President Vladimir Putin also congratulated the soldiers and announced they will be given state awards. Interestingly, Bakhmut is not a tactical city. 

It is located about 55 kilometres north of the Russian-held regional capital of Donetsk, had a prewar population of 80,000 and was an important industrial centre, surrounded by salt and gypsum mines.

But still, the fight has been going on between Russian and Ukranian forces for the past eight months-- one of the longest battles for a city in the ongoing war. It isn’t clear which side has paid a higher price in the battle for Bakhmut. Both Russia and Ukraine have endured losses believed to be in the thousands, though neither has disclosed casualty numbers.

Also Read: Russian private army Wagner claims control of Bakhmut; Ukraine says 'claims are not true'

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