My WordPress Blog

Russia’s Wagner Group Claims Control of Bakhmut, But Kiev Says Fighting Continues – POLITICO


Russian paramilitary group Wagner claimed on Saturday to have taken control of Bakhmut, the eastern Ukrainian city that has seen the heaviest recent fighting in Moscow’s war on Ukraine, but Kyiv disputed the claim, saying heavy fighting continued there.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner’s manager, said in a video posted on Telegram that Bakhmut came under complete Russian control around noon Saturday, according to media reports.

“Today, at 12 o’clock, Bakhmut was completely taken,” Prigozhin said in the video. “We absolutely took the whole town, house to house.”

Ukrainian officials denied that Wagner had established complete control in Bakhmut, but called the situation in the city critical. Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Command, told The Associated Press that Prigozhin’s claim “is not true.” Ukrainian “units are fighting in Bakhmut,” he added.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said heavy fighting continued in the city. “The situation is critical,” she said. “Currently, our defenders control certain industrial and infrastructure facilities in this area.”

The developments in eastern Ukraine came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Japan on Saturday for talks with the leaders of the world’s most powerful democracies aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s defenses against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 15-month invasion of the country. Strengthening international support is a key priority as Ukraine prepares for an expected major counter-offensive to retake territory seized by Russia.

The British Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Moscow appeared to be focusing on the battle around Bakhmut, where fighting has raged for more than eight months. “In the last four days, Russia has most likely redeployed up to several battalions to reinforce the Bakhmut sector,” the ministry said.

“This follows Ukrainian tactical advances on the flanks of the contested Donetsk Oblast city until mid-May and publicly aired doubts about the Wagner Group’s commitment to continuing fighting in the sector,” the ministry said. “The redeployment represents a remarkable commitment by the Russian command,” it added.

“Russia’s leadership is likely to continue to see capturing Bakhmut as the most important immediate war objective which will allow them to claim some degree of success in the conflict,” the British ministry said.

Prigozhin said his forces would pull out of Bakhmut in five days and hand over the ruins of the city to the regular Russian military, Reuters reported.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.