President Volodymyr Zelenskiy likened the ruins of Ukraine’s eastern city of Bakhmut with the destruction of Hiroshima in World War Two, as he attended the Group of Seven summit in the Japanese city on Sunday.
Russia said on Saturday it had captured the shattered city of Bakhmut after the longest and bloodiest battle of its full-scale invasion, though Ukraine denies Moscow’s forces have full control of the city.
“I’ll tell you openly: Photographs of ruined Hiroshima absolutely remind me of Bakhmut and other similar settlements. Nothing left alive, all the buildings ruined,” he told reporters.
Zelenskiy told the press conference that Ukrainian forces were continuing to fighting inside the city of Bakhmut and were carrying out “important tasks”.
“Today they are in Bakhmut — in which places, I won’t share. But this speaks to the fact that Bakhmut has not been captured by the Russian Federation as of today. There are no two or three interpretations of this.”
He added that he would like to see the same kind of successful reconstruction that Hiroshima experienced in places like Bakhmut once the war is over.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova mocked Zelenskiy’s comparison, saying the United States bombed Hiroshima and provided military support for Ukraine.
“Nice one,” Zakharova wrote on Telegram. “Since both were carried out by the White House.”
—Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by William Maclean, Ron Popeski and Lisa Shumaker