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Bakhmut only in our hearts now: Zelenskyy on losing control over the city

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared to confirm the loss of the city of Bakhmut to Russia on Sunday, when asked if it remained in Kyiv’s control.

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“I think no,” he said ahead of a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Japan, adding that “for today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts.”

Russia claimed on Saturday to have fully captured the smashed eastern Ukrainian city, which if true would mark an end to the longest and bloodiest battle of the 15-month war.

“It is a tragedy,” Zelenskyy said. “There is nothing in this place.”

The assault on the largely leveled city was led by troops from the Wagner Group of mercenaries, whose leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said earlier in the day that his troops had finally pushed the Ukrainians out of the last built-up area inside the city.

A peace formula
In his Sunday address, Zelenskyy told G7 leaders that Kyiv’s plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine is “an obvious expression of rationality.”

The Ukrainian leader, who is attending the G7 summit in Japan in person, has in recent months been seeking global support for a “peace formula”.

“We’re united by one more principle – rationality,” he said in the address, which was posted to the president’s website.

“We always act practically [while] protecting our values. And the Ukrainian Peace Formula is an obvious expression of rationality. I thank you for supporting our Formula,” he said.

Zelenskyy has pushed Western allies and other countries to go further on both economic and military measures to support Kyiv as Russia’s 15-month invasion drags on.

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