On Monday, Ukraine dismissed Russian claims that it had conquered the eastern city of Bakhmut, claiming that its adversaries had put a victory flag over “some type of toilet” while fighting was still going on.
The war for Bakhmut, now in its second year, has been one of the deadliest of the conflict, with numerous losses on both sides and the city mostly damaged by bombardments.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, commander of the Wagner mercenary army leading the siege, announced on Sunday that his forces had placed a Russian flag atop the administrative building in the city center, despite the presence of Ukrainian military in some places.
“From a legal point of view, Bakhmut has been taken,” he said in video on Telegram. “The enemy is concentrated in the western parts.”
Prigozhin has previously made premature claims.
Ukraine’s military said fighting was still raging around Bakhmut’s city council building, as well as in several other nearby towns.
“Bakhmut is Ukrainian and they have not captured anything and are very far from doing that,” Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern military command, told Reuters.
“They raised the flag over some kind of toilet. They attached it to the side of who knows what, hung their rag and said they had captured the city. Well good, let them think they’ve taken it,” Cherevatyi added by telephone.