A woman lights a candle in the basement of a church during heavy fighting in Bahmut./Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images
2023.02.06 Mon posted at 13:21 JST
（ＣＮＮ） Ukrainian Defense Minister Reznikow said on Thursday that Bakhmut, a strategic point in eastern Ukraine, remained a stronghold of the fighting.
“It’s still a symbol,” Reznikou said at a press conference in Kyiv.
Ukraine’s continued control of Bakhmut is seen as a symbol of resistance. During a visit to the United States late last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told U.S. lawmakers that the fight for Bakhmut would change the tragic narrative of the war for independence and freedom.
The city has been almost completely destroyed by heavy fighting. Zelensky said blood seeped into every corner of the land.
Evgeny Prigozhin, head of the Russian private military company Wagner, said in a social media post on Monday that Ukrainian forces were defending Bakhmut and heavy fighting was taking place throughout the city.
Reznikou said Russian forces have been trying to take control of the Donbass region since last summer, losing about 500 people each day during attacks. CNN has not been able to independently confirm this figure.