Russia has announced that it has captured the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, with President Vladimir Putin congratulating his troops and the mercenary Wagner Group for their success. The announcement came after Kyiv admitted that the situation was “critical” but claimed that the battle was still ongoing. Bakhmut, a salt-mining town that was once home to 70,000 people, has been the site of the longest and bloodiest battle in Russia’s 15-month war in Ukraine. The fall of Bakhmut would represent Moscow’s first significant victory in the conflict in over 10 months. The city is believed to have seen significant losses on both sides.