Russia has claimed complete control over the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. According to Al Jazeera’s report, Russia has claimed to have complete control over the city of Bakhmut, and President Vladimir Putin has congratulated his troops and the Wagner Group, a private military company, for taking control of the eastern city.
This Russian announcement came on the same day when Kyiv stated a few hours earlier that the fighting in the city was still ongoing, although Kyiv admitted that the situation in Bakhmut was “delicate.”
According to international media reports, both Russia and Ukraine have suffered heavy losses during the ongoing conflict in Bakhmut. If Wagner’s claim is proven true, it would be the most significant victory for Russia in the Ukrainian war so far.
Bakhmut is a district known for its salt mines, with a population that used to consist of around 70,000 people. It has been the site of the longest and bloodiest battles during the 15-month war between Russia and Ukraine, resulting in significant losses for both sides.
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated in a statement, “With the help of the artillery and the Air Force of the Southern Unit, Wagner’s assault units have successfully liberated the city of Artemovsk (former name of Bakhmut).”
According to Russian media, the Kremlin stated in a released statement that Vladimir Putin congratulated Wagner’s assault units along with the units of the Russian armed forces, and also announced awards for those who showed outstanding performance.
On the other hand, the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine has rejected this claim but acknowledged the “delicate” situation in the city. According to BBC estimates, between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured in Bakhmut, while the Ukrainian forces have also paid a heavy price. It is likely that very few buildings have survived, and the entire population of the city has disappeared.