This is what has become of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which was once home to expansive parks and Soviet-era aesthetic.
Before being largely levelled by Russian artillery, 70,000 people lived and worked in the regional transport and logistics hub in the Donetsk Oblast.
The city is still in the throes of street-to-street fighting despite insistence from the Wagner Group that its mercenaries have captured the last Ukrainian strongholds.
Bakhmut has become a symbol of resistance since it became the hottest spot on the frontline.
But Volodymyr Zelensky said the city is ‘only in our hearts’, adding that ‘there is nothing in this place’.
The president likened the ruins with the destruction of Hiroshima in World War II, as he attended the G7 summit in the Japanese city, which was destroyed in 1945 by the first weaponised nuclear bomb.
‘I will tell you openly: photographs of ruined Hiroshima absolutely remind me of Bakhmut and other similar settlements,’ he told reporters.
‘Nothing left alive, all the buildings ruined.’
Aerial footage released by Ukraine’s armed forces show how the 400-year-old city has been razed to the ground during the longest battle of the 15-month war.
Plumes of smoke can be seen rising from gutted buildings, which were most likely home to residents who are now long gone.
Drone shots from high above Bakhmut show the extent of the ruin by air strikes.
Though there are claims evacuation efforts ae still ongoing, there is no sign of life in the city.
A Facebook post shared alongside the pictures read: ‘Our “eyes” in Bakhmut – a drone operator with the call sign “Raccoon” – not only scouts the location of the enemy and adjusts our artillery.
‘He also records how the city is dying from the actions of the Russian occupying forces.’
Further videos show believed to have been captured this weekend show soldiers on the ground, in the midst of the destruction.
Russia claims it has completely taken Bakhmut, with Vladimir Putin congratulating his troops and mercenaries for finally seizing it after months of setbacks.
If indeed confirmed, it would be a largely symbolic victory for the Kremlin, which concentrated its efforts there in August.
But Zelensky denied the claims, stressing that Ukrainian troops remain in the city.
He stressed that Ukrainian forces were continuing to fighting inside Bakhmut and were carrying out ‘important tasks’.
‘Today they are in Bakhmut – in which places, I won’t share. But this speaks to the fact that Bakhmut has not been captured by the Russian Federation as of today,’ the president said.
‘There are no two or three interpretations of this.’
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