Russian Wagner Group claims control over Ukrainian city Bakhmut
MOSCOW: Russia’s Wagner Group claims ‘legal’ control of Ukrainian town Bakhmut, however, Ukrainian military leaders deny the claim and say that their forces still hold the town, and described the fighting there as “particularly hot.”
The head of the paramilitary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, stated that his troops had raised the Russian flag on the administrative building of Bakhmut.
Prigozhin also mentioned in an audio message on his press service’s Telegram account that his troops have been involved in a months-long effort to encircle and capture the town.
However, Ukrainian officials have not indicated any evidence that Bakhmut, a town of 70,000 people before the Russian invasion over a year ago, has fallen into the hands of the Russians. Ukrainian military leaders responded to Prigozhin’s video on Monday, saying that enemy troops had tried to take control of the town, but they had “repelled more than 20 enemy attacks.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in his nightly video address on Sunday, praised the Ukrainian troops’ defence of the city, including Bakhmut. “Thank you to our soldiers who are fighting in Avdiivka, Maryinka, and Bakhmut,” he said. “Especially Bakhmut. It is especially hot there.”
Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar also described the situation around the town as “tense.” She stated that Ukrainian forces were defending their positions while Russian forces were attacking and not paying attention to losses.
The Ukrainian crisis started in 2014, and since then, it has claimed more than 13,000 lives. The conflict is between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The fighting has caused massive damage to infrastructure and homes, leaving many people displaced. Despite several ceasefire agreements, violence still breaks out in the region, leading to loss of life and further damage to the area.