President Biden has said Russia has suffered more than 100,000 killed and wounded troops in the fight for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
The U.S. president was speaking on Sunday at the G7 summit in Japan, as Russia and Ukraine issued competing claims over the situation on the ground in the besieged city.
On Saturday Russia claimed to have finally captured the city but Ukraine on Sunday denied it had fallen and said fighting was continuing.
Biden said: “Bakhmut. There’s a discussion about whether or not it’s been lost or whatever.
“Well, the truth of the matter is the Russians have suffered over 100,000 casualties in Bakhmut.
“And that’s hard to make up.”
Earlier this week, Ukraine’s General Staff has claimed the total number of Russian troops killed or wounded during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine had surpassed 200,000.
The figure means Russia has lost a number of troops so large – 200,590 – it surpasses many countries’ entire serving armed forces.
The official Ukrainian number is roughly corroborated by other sources. At a briefing on 29 March, UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace estimated Russia’s full-scale invasion casualties – those killed and wounded – had already surpassed 220,000.
The situation in Bakhmut
The Ukrainian army on Sunday said it retained control of an "insignificant" part of Bakhmut, the eastern city that Russia claims to have captured, but was advancing on its flanks.
A day earlier Russia's Wagner mercenary group and regular army claimed to have fully taken control of Bakhmut, scene of the longest and bloodiest battle in Moscow's invasion.
"Despite the fact that we now control an insignificant part of Bakhmut, the importance of its defence does not lose its relevance," the commander of Ukraine's ground forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, said. "We continue to advance on the flanks in the suburbs of Bakhmut."
Earlier Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the G7 summit in Hiroshima that Bakhmut was "not occupied". Syrsky said the army would continue to defend Bakhmut.
He called the situation for Ukrainian troops there "difficult but under control."
The chief of Wagner – whose fighters have spearheaded Russia's advance on Bakhmut – insisted there were no Ukrainian troops left in Bakhmut.
"There is not a single Ukrainian soldier in Bakhmut as we have stopped taking prisoners," Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a post on Telegram.
"There are a huge number of corpses of Ukrainian soldiers."
He said that Bakhmut has been "taken to the last centimetre."
Prigozhin said that Zelensky was either not telling the truth or "like many of our own military leaders, simply does not know what is happening on the ground, this is a possibility."
Both sides are believed to have suffered huge losses in the battle for Bakhmut.
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter