Russia's military commander claims it has captured the east Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, epicentre of the fighting, as President Vladimir Putin congratulated his troops and private mercenary group Wagner.
The announcement from the Russian army came hours after Kyiv said the battle was continuing, while admitting the situation was "critical", and with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky meeting G7 leaders in Japan.
Bakhmut, a salt-mining town that once had a population of 70,000 people, has been the scene of the longest and bloodiest battle in Moscow's more than year-long Ukraine offensive. While the rest of the world leaders were busy in discussing the global crisis in Japan, the announcement of the victory is seen as an assertion by the Russia that they will not relent.
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