Bakhmut/Moscow/Kyiv: In May last year, the Russian Army captured Mariupol, an important port in the Donetsk region, after a long struggle. As the capture of Mariupol completes a year, Russian forces have captured the strategically important city of Bakhmut in Donbas. On Saturday night, the Russian private military company ‘Wagner Group’ released a few photographs and announced that Russia had taken control of Ukraine’s Bakhmut city. Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed this information while President Vladimir Putin also released a congratulatory message. However, Ukraine has not accepted its defeat, and the Ukrainian President, who is in Japan for the G7 summit, claimed that his forces still have a foothold in Bakhmut.
Bakhmut is considered strategically important as the city is located in the central part of Ukraine’s Donbas region. This city is crucial for the Russian forces in terms of control over the Donbas as the roads connecting various cities in this region pass through Bakhmut. The Russian Army, which has been fighting for control over Bakhmut for the past few months, made it a priority in the New Year. A large number of weapons were deployed along with new military units. Along with the Russian Army, the private military company ‘Wagner Group’ sent its leading teams to Bakhmut.
After nearly 224 days of struggle, Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin announced on Saturday that they had successfully gained complete control over Bakhmut. The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed Prigozhin’s claim. Bakhmut (Artemovsk as it is called in Russian) has been completely liberated, Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement. After this statement of the Russian Defence Ministry, Russian President Putin also took note of this and issued a congratulatory message, according to a Russian news agency. In this message, President Putin praised the Russian military, along with the Wagner Group. The Russian President also stated that all those who had performed exceptionally and excelled on Moscow’s side would be given state awards.
After these announcements from Russia, Ukraine has refused to accept defeat. Senior Ukrainian leaders and ministers claimed that the Ukrainian Army’s conflict in Bakhmut is still ongoing. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is in Japan for the G7 summit, also rejected Russia’s claims. But at the same time, he also made a statement saying Russia has destroyed Bakhmut on a large scale, and now the city’s place is in our hearts. It has created a state of confusion regarding the status of Ukraine.
On Sunday, a statement by Ukrainian military officials in Bakhmut said Ukrainian military units were preparing to encircle the city. As it mentions that the Ukrainian Army is outside the city, it has come to light that there is a rift between the Ukrainian military and political circles.
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