After 224 days of intense fighting, the head of Russian private military group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has announced today that his forces have taken complete control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. “The operation to capture Bakhmut lasted 224 days,” said Prigozhin in a video posted to his Telegram channel – in effect, claiming a final victory in capturing the contested city.
Ukrainian government officials are denying Prigozhin’s claim. However, the evidence strongly suggests that Prigozhin’s announcement is definitive…
The key Donbass city of Artyomovsk, known as ‘Bakhmut’ in Ukraine, has been fully liberated by the Russian forces, Evgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner private military company has announced.
“Today at noon, Bakhmut was fully captured,” Prigozhin said in a video address published on Saturday.
The last part of an area of high-rise buildings where the Ukrainians were holed up is now under the control of Russian forces, he stated.
The Wagner Group will remain in Artyomovsk until Thursday, Prigozhin said, adding that during this period, fortifications will be created across the city.
Control will then be passed on to the Russian Defense Ministry, and Wagner Group servicemen will go on leave to rest and regroup following months of intense fighting.
(Image: Wagner PMC)
According to Prigozhin, the PMC’s operation in the city, which he called ‘the Bakhmut meat-grinder’, had gone on for 224 days. “We’ve taken the whole city – every building – so that nobody could say that we didn’t capture some small part of it,” he said.
Kiev has denied Prigozhin’s claims that Artyomovsk has been captured. Ukrainian military spokesman Sergey Cherevaty told Reuters: “This is not true. Our units are fighting in Bakhmut.”
BREAKING: Russian forces have taken complete control of Artyomovsk-Bakhmut, Donetsk Republic, according to Wagner PMC Chief Prigozhin.
He says Wagner forces will begin leaving the city on May 25, transferring control to the Russian Military. pic.twitter.com/j32FXiKqFs
— Rachel Blevins (@RachBlevins) May 20, 2023
The Wagner chief also personally addressed Ukraine’s president, Vladimir Zelensky, saying, “without sarcasm” that the Ukrainian troops “fought bravely, fought well” defending Artyomovsk.
“Today, when you see [US President Joe] Biden, kiss him on the top of his head and tell him that I said ‘hi,’” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Zelensky arrived at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, where he is expected to hold talks with Biden.
SOURCE: RT International
READ MORE UKRAINE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Ukraine Files
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