(Bloomberg) -- Russia said that the Wagner private military force has taken the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, where Ukrainian officials said earlier “fierce fighting” was still raging.
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Wagner forces “completed the liberation of the city,” the Russian Defense Ministry said Sunday, state-run Tass reported.
Ukraine denied a claim earlier in the day from Wagner that it had taken the city, fought over for eight months. There was no immediate comment after the latest Russian claim.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G-7 meeting in Japan as part of an effort to speak directly to world leaders who have taken a more neutral stance over Russia’s invasion.
India under Modi has stepped up purchases of Russian energy and continues to seek weapons from Moscow. Zelenskiy said he had a “serious” conversation with Modi.
“I believe that India will participate in restoring international order, based on rules, which each free nation apparently needs,” he said.
Ukraine’s leader formally requested a meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. As of Saturday evening in Japan there was no confirmation one would go ahead. Brazil has no problem sitting down with any leader but it shouldn’t be imposed, one official said, describing Zelenskiy’s impromptu attendance as a potential “trap” for non-G-7 attendees. Zelenskiy is set to meet US President Joe Biden Sunday.
Ukraine’s defense minister said on Facebook that representatives of nations backing Ukraine with military aid would hold another meeting next week to discuss the country’s latest armament needs.
Earlier in the day in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Air Force said its defense systems shot down 21 drones on Saturday in another Russian attack. Eighteen of the drones were shot down over the Kyiv region, with multiple explosions heard in the capital, the Air Force said. It was the 11th air attack on Kyiv since the beginning of the month.
Twenty of the downed crafts were Shahed drones, which Iran has been supplying to Russia.
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--With assistance from Volodymyr Verbyany.
(Updates with Bakhmut starting in first paragraph.)
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