The head of the Russian private army Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed on Saturday that his fighters had captured the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. However, Ukraine rejected the claim, stating that heavy fighting was still ongoing and that the situation in the city was “critical”. Prigozhin made his announcement in a video in which he appeared in combat fatigues in front of a line of fighters holding Russian flags and Wagner banners. He stated that the operation to capture Bakhmut had lasted 224 days and that his forces had taken the whole city “from house to house”. However, Ukraine stated that it still retained some ground control in the city, with its troops holding the defence in the “Airplane area”. The battle for Bakhmut has been the longest and bloodiest of Russia’s war in Ukraine, which is now nearly 15 months old.