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Ukraine disputes Wagner Group claim it controls the city of Bakhmut

An aerial view of Bakhmut
An aerial view of Bakhmut Copyright Libkos/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Libkos/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AFP
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As the battle for the control of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine rages on, soldiers have been helping to evacuate the few residents who still remain there.

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As the battle for the control of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine rages on, soldiers have been trying to evacuate the few residents who still remain there.

They have been helping civilians load their bags onto evacuation armoured vehicles as it becomes increasingly difficult to leave the area.

“People call on us, we let them know the time and let them pack essential belongings. And then we bring them here,” a soldier told the AFP news agency.

Another soldier said people had stayed so long in the city because "they hope that everything will be OK".

Evacuees are taken to centres across the country where they can find shelter. It is not known exactly how many civilians still remain in Bakhmut which was once home to around 70,000 people.

The fight for the besieged industrial city has become the longest and bloodiest one in Russia's year-long assault on the country.

Kiev said on Monday that Moscow’s forces were "very far" from capturing the town, dismissing claims by the Wagner mercenary group that it had raised the Russian flag on the city administration building.

President Vlodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged that the situation is very tense and praised the work of the city’s defenders.

The Ukrainian high command acknowledged that there had been some Russian advances inside the Bakhmut.

Russia's defence ministry has not confirmed it has full control of the city.

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