A defiant Volodymyr Zelensky has insisted Bakhmut “is not occupied” by Russia after a Moscow-backed mercenary group had claimed control.
Ukraine’s president was speaking during a scene-stealing visit to Hiroshima, Japan, for the G7 summit.
He compared Bakhmut to Hiroshima, which was hit by an atomic bomb in World War Two, promising a similar “reconstruction” of his country.
Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin had earlier claimed victory in Bakhmut.
At a press conference on the final day of the Summit, Mr Zelensky refused to provide precise details, but said the city was “not occupied” by Russia “as of today.”
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“There are no two or three interpretations of those words,” he said, after earlier confusion about his remarks on the status of the city.
Having arrived in Japan to great fanfare on Saturday, the next day Mr Zelensky visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida – whose relatives died when the United States launched an atomic bomb on the city in 1945.
Mr Zelensky laid a wreath for those who were killed in the attack.