FACT CHECK: Has Bakhmut Been ‘Liberated’?
A video shared on Facebook claims Bakhmut has been “liberated.”
Bakhmut is the center of heavy fighting in the current war. Neither Russia nor Ukraine has full control over the city.
Bakhmut, a city with a prewar population of 70,000, has been the target of Russian forces for the past seven months, according to The Guardian. Ukrainian forces are reinforcing the area with other units, as Russian private militaries make their way into the area, the outlet reported.
Social media users have been sharing a video claiming that Bakhmut was “liberated” and that Russian tanks have been destroyed in the fighting. “Huge Victory Has Been Proved-Bakhmut Has Finally Been Liberated! Russian Tanks have Been Destroyed!” reads the video’s caption.
This claim, however, is misleading. If Ukraine had managed to dislodge the Russian forces from Bakhmut, media outlets would have covered it, yet none have. Neither the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense nor the Ukrainian General Staff has released statements confirming that Bakhmut had been liberated.
Heavy fighting continues in Bakhmut, with the eastern part being under Russian control, while Ukrainian forces are fending off assaults from three different directions, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). The ISW wrote, “Russian forces continued ground attacks in and around Bakhmut on March 26 and 27 and made gains within Bakhmut as of March 26.”
The Wall Street Journal reported March 25 that Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, the commander in chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said the situation was stabilizing. The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense stated March 25 that Russia’s assault has “largely stalled,” according to The Associated Press.
Ukrainian forces have destroyed Russian tanks in Bakhmut. For example, open-source intelligence account (OSINT) Ukraine Weapons Tracker shared a video of a destroyed Russian T-72 tank in eastern Bakhmut. (RELATED: Does This Video Show NATO Helicopters Being Show Down In Ukraine?)
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 14, 2023
“A Russian T-72B3 obr. 2016 (or possibly obr. 2022) was destroyed by the Ukrainian 93rd Mechanized Brigade in the Eastern part of Bakhmut, #Donetsk Oblast,” the account tweeted.
This is not the first time false claims about the Ukrainian war have circulated online. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers had died during the war.