The Idea The Russians Have Taken Bakhmut Is Hilarious

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Bakhmut is Ukrainian and Russia have not captured anything and are very far from doing that, to put it mildly. Tihran and his colleague, Bohdan, found Russia’s claims amusing. The Russians can talk all they want but we hold Bakhmut.

KYIV APRIL 7: There is a tale Ukrainian soldiers tell when discussing Russia’s perception that it is winning the war. It goes like this: “One man is 75-years-old, another is 85. The older man tells his friend that he sleeps with a different woman every day. The younger man repeats the old man’s antics to another group of friends, expecting them to be impressed, but they just smile.”

Tihran, a 53-year-old soldier who is telling the story, takes a long drag of his cigarette.
“They smile because they know his old friend is lying,” he says. “Anyone can say what they want, it doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Earlier this week Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner militia group and a close ally of President Putin, claimed his men had made significant gains in the Ukrainian stronghold of Bakhmut, a city that has been utterly devastated by the invasion as Russian forces have closed in on three sides.

In an effort to bolster his assertions Prigozhin, who recruited the majority of his fighters from Russian prisons, announced a Russian flag had been raised over the city’s administration building – a seemingly premature declaration the Ukrainians soon put paid to.

Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesman for Ukraine’s eastern military command, said: “Bakhmut is Ukrainian and they have not captured anything and are very far from doing that, to put it mildly.” This unequivocal sentiment has been echoed by the soldiers defending Bakhmut.

Tihran and his colleague, Bohdan, found Russia’s claims amusing. “That isn’t true, we hold Bakhmut,” they responded, adding that the prospect of Russia taking the city was not something they were unduly “worried” about.

“The Russians can talk all they want but we hold Bakhmut and their happiness won’t last long,” Tihran said. While the soldiers were limited for security reasons on what they could say about the fight for Bakhmut, they described the situation as both “hot” and “extreme”, conceding that within the city remained “a lot of Russians”.

Their comments were supported by the sound of outgoing gunfire that permeated the sky as the soldiers spoke to The Telegraph from their hide-out in Chasiv Yar, a neighbouring town west of Bakhmut that has enhanced its defences to prevent the Russians advancing.

“We can tell you we are doing enough rotations to Bakhmut to keep it,” Bohdan, 20, unflinchingly added.

Despite their relaxed demeanour, the days are long and the soldiers holding this critical point are vigilant in their duties.

“One mistake can take your life,” Bohdan said.
“We need to keep an eye on everything.”

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