This is the alleged moment when a Russian flag was hoisted over the administrative building in Bakhmut.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the private military group Wagner, claimed today that his soldiers “legally” took the city of 70,000 inhabitants in the east of the country. Ukraine.
“Legally, Bakhmut has been taken. The enemy is concentrated in the western parts,” he said in an audio message posted to his press service’s Telegram account.
Fighting in Bakhmut began last May, but Russian troops did not advance until January and February, making the fighting there one of the longest during the war.
Prigozhin’s claim to victory comes despite assurances from Ukrainian officials, who are dismissing the video as a stunt and saying the army still holds the city.
In his nightly speech, Volodymyr Zelensky indicated that the fighting was getting more intense.
But the president gave no indication that the city had fallen to Vladimir Putin’s shadow army.
Bakhmut and several other cities, including Avdiivka, were at the “epicenter of hostilities,” a Ukrainian army statement said last night.
“The enemy continues its attack on Bakhmut. But our defenders are holding the city bravely,” it said.
Zelensky thanked the soldiers who fought in Avdiivka, Maryinka and Bakhmut. ‘Especially Bakhmut. It’s very hot there,” he said.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar had previously described the situation in the city as “tense”.
She said that the Ukrainian forces defended their positions, while the Russian forces paid little attention to the losses in the attack.
Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said fighting had engulfed central Bakhmut.
Ukrainian forces had repelled 25 enemy attacks, but enemy forces had captured the AZOM metal factory.
“The enemy is attacking the city center from the north, east and south and is trying to take the city under its complete control,” Zhdanov, who has close ties to the Ukrainian army, said in a video posted on YouTube.
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