Ukraine’s President Zelensky Asserts Bakhmut is Not Occupied by Russia amid Defiant Stance
A defiant Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, stood firm during the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, dismissing claims that Bakhmut was under Russian occupation.
Despite assertions made by the Moscow-backed mercenary group Wagner. Ukrainian military sources revealed that they still held control over some buildings on the outskirts of the city.
During a press conference at the summit’s conclusion, President Zelensky clarified that Bakhmut was “not occupied” by Russia “as of today.” Addressing earlier confusion surrounding his statements, he emphasized the unambiguous nature of his words regarding the city’s status.
Drawing parallels between Bakhmut and Hiroshima, Zelensky expressed determination to rebuild Ukraine in a manner similar to the reconstruction efforts. Undertaken in Hiroshima after the devastating atomic bomb attack.
Tenuous Control and Ukrainian Advances at Bakhmut
Russian fighters, led by Wagner mercenaries, exerted control over most of Bakhmut after persistent efforts. Ukrainian forces resisted calls for a tactical withdrawal, considering it a “Pyrrhic victory” for Russia.
Despite this, Ukrainian military sources indicated that they were making advances on the outskirts of Bakhmut, bringing them closer to a “tactical encirclement” of the city.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) corroborated these claims, citing geolocated footage showing Ukrainian forces engaging Russian counterparts south of Klishchiivka.
Although Bakhmut holds limited strategic importance for Russia, capturing the city would represent a symbolic victory, given the longest battle of the Ukrainian war took place there.
However, Ukraine intends to employ a strategy similar to past successes, reclaiming territories lost to Russian forces.
The ISW analysis suggests that the sustained attack on Bakhmut City by Wagner mercenaries continued only with the support of regular Russian forces.
Should the promised withdrawal of Wagner forces occur, the likelihood of further Russian offensive operations diminishes.
G7 Summit and Support for Ukraine
The war in Ukraine dominated discussions among G7 leaders during the summit, prompting President Zelensky to seek additional support.
The United States announced its willingness to allow Western allies to supply advanced fighter jets, including American-made F-16s, to Ukraine.
However, no specific commitments have been made by any country regarding the supply of these jets to Ukraine.
When questioned about the acquisition of F-16s, President Zelensky expressed confidence in ongoing efforts, although specific details remained unknown.
Regarding the delayed spring counter-offensive, he affirmed that Russia would feel the impact when Ukraine launches its counter-offensive.