Volodymyr Zelenskyy compares the extent of destruction in Bakhmut, Ukraine, with that in Hiroshima | world news
This is what has become of the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, which was once home to sprawling parks and a Soviet-era aesthetic.
Before it was largely leveled by Russian artillery, 70,000 people lived and worked in the regional transport and logistics center in Donetsk Oblast.
The city is still in the midst of street fighting, although the Wagner group insists their mercenaries have captured the last few Ukrainian strongholds.
Bakhmut has become a symbol of resistance as it has become the hottest spot on the front line.
But Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the city was “only in our hearts”, adding that “there is nothing in this place”.
The President compared the ruins to the destruction of Hiroshima in World War II while attending the G7 summit in the Japanese city, which was destroyed by the first atomic bomb in 1945.
“I’ll tell you frankly: photos of destroyed Hiroshima absolutely remind me of Bakhmut and other similar settlements,” he told reporters.
“Nothing is alive anymore, all buildings are destroyed.”
Aerial photos released by the Armed Forces of Ukraine show the 400-year-old city being leveled during the longest battle of the 15-month war.
Clouds of smoke can be seen from the gutted buildings, in which residents who are believed to have died long ago lived.
Drone footage from high above Bakhmut shows the extent of the destruction caused by airstrikes.
Although evacuation efforts are ongoing, there is no sign of life in the city.
A Facebook post shared alongside the images said: “Our ‘eyes’ at Bakhmut – a drone operator with the callsign ‘Raccoon’ – not only scout the enemy’s location and adjust our artillery.
“It also documents how the city is being destroyed by the actions of the Russian occupying forces.”
Additional videos, believed to have been taken this weekend, show soldiers on the ground amid the destruction.
Russia claims to have taken Bakhmut completely, and Vladimir Putin congratulates his troops and mercenaries on finally taking it after months of setbacks.
If confirmed, it would be a largely symbolic victory for the Kremlin, which focused its efforts there in August.
But Zelenskyi denied the claims, stressing that Ukrainian troops are still in the city.
He stressed that the Ukrainian armed forces continued to fight in Bakhmut and performed “important tasks”.
“Today they are in Bakhmut – I won’t tell you where.” But that suggests that Bakhmut has not been captured by the Russian Federation to this day,” said the President.
“There are no two or three interpretations for this.”
Contact our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, Check out our news page.