Zelensky appears to confirm Bakhmut loss, saying ‘nothing left’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on Sunday to confirm the loss of Bakhmut to the Russians, adding there was “nothing left” of the city.
Asked if Ukrainian forces were holding on or if Russia had captured the city, Zelensky was not entirely clear, but said “you have to understand there is nothing” there. “For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts,” AFP reported.
The Russian military announced on Saturday the capture of the city.
Its loss would be hugely symbolic for the Ukrainians, who held on for months there, ignoring US advice behind the scenes to put their focus elsewhere given the city’s lack of strategic importance in the wider war.
Zelensky, sitting alongside US President Joe Biden at a meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, reflected the difficulty of discussing Bakhmut with a lengthy, emotional answer.
Asked if Ukrainian forces were holding on or if Russia had captured the city, Zelensky was not entirely clear, answering: “I think no.”
He then appeared to suggest Bakhmut was only a pyrrhic victory for the Russians, and that there was nothing left of the city for the Ukrainians to lose.
“There is nothing in this place... just ruins and a lot of dead Russians,” he told reporters.
“But they came to us,” he said of the Russians.
He said that Ukrainian soldiers did “strong work” and “we appreciate their great job”.
The fog of war made it impossible to confirm the situation on the ground in the longest battle, and a series of comments from Ukrainian and Russian officials added confusion to the matter.
Zelenskyy’s response in English to the question earlier at the summit about the status of Bakhmut suggested that he believed the city had fallen to Russian forces, and he offered solemn words about its fate. However, responding to another question about the status of the city, he said: “Bakhmut is not occupied by the Russian Federation as of today.”
“We are not throwing people (away) to die,” Zelenskyy said in Ukrainian through an interpreter. “People are the treasure. I clearly understand what is happening in Bakhmut. I cannot share with you the technical details of what is happening with our warriors.”
At the meeting, Biden announced a new package of weapons for Ukraine, including “ammunition, artillery, armoured vehicles”.

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