Media claim Zelenskyy acknowledges loss of Bakhmut, Office of President denies it

 21 MAY 2023


The world’s leading media report that on Sunday, during his visit to Japan, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was not sure that Ukraine’s Armed Forces were still in control of the city of Bakhmut, which is now destroyed by Russians. Later, his press secretary denied this information.

Source: DW; AP; Serhii Nykyforov, spokesman for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Facebook; Financial Times’s correspondent Christopher Miller у Twitter

Details: The media reported that when asked during the G7 summit in Hiroshima whether Ukraine controlled the city, Zelenskyy replied: “I think, no”.

Quote from Zelenskyy: “You have to understand that there is nothing [left]. They (Russians – ed.) have destroyed everything.

For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts.”

Update: Later, Serhii Nikiforov, Zelenskyy’s press secretary posted that the president actually denied the loss of Bakhmut.

The spokesman wrote that when Zelenskyy was asked whether the Russians captured Bakhmut, he replied: “I think no”. 

The international media still follow the assumption that Zelenskyy was asked whether Bakhmut remained under Kyiv’s control.

Judging by the video, the question was: “Mr President, is Bakhmut still in Ukraine’s hands? The Russians are saying they took Bakhmut”. Zelenskyy’s reply was: “I think no”.

Financial Times correspondent Miller writes that the Ukrainian president’s entourage has a different explanation for Zelenskyy’s answer.

They state that Zelenskyy was talking about Bakhmut being lost in the sense that it was completely destroyed.


  • On 20 May, Yevgeny Prigozhin, financier of Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), posted a video near the railway station in the centre of Bakhmut, claiming that his mercenaries had allegedly seized the city completely and that on 25 May, they would hand over its “defence” to regular Russian army units and leave.
  • The Ukrainian Defence Ministry denied the capture of Bakhmut, as despite the “critical situation” in the city, Ukrainian soldiers control some facilities.
  • Afterwards, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin congratulated the Wagner PMC and promised the occupiers state awards.

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  1. “They state that Zelenskyy was talking about Bakhmut being lost in the sense that it was completely destroyed.”

    Zelensky’s English is not the best, and this could be an explanation to his answer.
    At this point, one should not overdo the significance of losing or holding the city. It was never of strategic importance, only a symbolic one. The roaches having those few extra meters of destroyed city will not change the rest of the war, by far it won’t.

  2. Fuhrer rat has congratulated his vermin. The Ukrainians obviously are facing a huge enemy as usual outgunned, outmanned and still having to use old Soviet artillery.
    If the PutinaZis do take this Godforsaken place, the defenders know they must take it back.
    The putinaZi doctrine is Grozny : destroy everything and kill everyone. The defenders know that Bakhmut and Mariupol are the the business model for these demonic scum, so they must stop them forever.
    God only knows what horror will be uncovered when all occupied lands are returned.

    • It’s best not to think about the horrors there! For now, just liberation!

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