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'We took the whole city, from house to house': Russia claims territorial victory in key Ukrainian city of Bakhmut

The Russian military claimed on Saturday that it has successfully captured the much-contested eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group led the all-out offensive in the city. Earlier in the day, Prigozhin said that his troops had finally pushed the Ukrainians out of the last built-up area inside the city.

Bakhmut’s capture would translate into the first major victory for Russia in the 10-month-long conflict.

The Russian defence ministry said in a statement, “As a result of offensive actions by Wagner assault units, supported by artillery and aviation of the Southern Group of Forces, the liberation of Artyomovsk has been completed.”

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin congratulated the Wagern group and the national army for the victory.

“Vladimir Putin congratulated the assault units of Wagner as well as all servicemen of units of the Russian armed forces who provided them with the necessary support and flank cover, on the completion of the operation to liberate Artemovsk (the Soviet-era name for Bakhmut),” TASS agency quoted the Kremlin saying.

Prigozhin said in a video statement, “Today, at 12 noon, Bakhmut was completely taken. We completely took the whole city, from house to house.”

The claims come a week after Prigozhin threatened to pull out his troops from Bakhmut unless the group was provided with arms and ammunition.

Ukraine denies claims

“This is not true. Our units are fighting in Bakhmut,” said Ukrainian military spokesperson Serhiy Cherevatyi.

Saturday’s claims came as Kyiv prepared its counteroffensive, the next major phase in the war after six months during which it kept its forces on the defensive while weathering Russia’s big offensive.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attended the G7 summit of major industrial powers in Japan on Saturday, winning pledges of support including a signal from Washington that it would now back the training of Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 warplanes. Previously, sending combat aircraft had been taboo.

With inputs from agencies

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from 'We took the whole city, from house to house': Russia claims territorial victory in key Ukrainian city of Bakhmut

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