Wagner claims victory in Bakhmut: A group of Russian mercenaries claim full control of the beleaguered city in Ukraine in a potential strategic victory for Putin – but Kiev insists the fighting is not over
- It is estimated that up to 30,000 Russians were killed or injured in Bakhmut
The Russian mercenary force Wagner claims to have achieved victory in Bakhmut after more than 200 days of fighting for the city, but Ukraine has denied this claim.
Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed his forces had full control of the beleaguered city in video recorded in front of destroyed buildings as explosions sounded in the distance.
Ukraine’s deputy defense minister dismissed the claim, but admitted the situation was “critical”.
Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Command, also told the Associated Press news agency that Prigozhin’s claim “is not true”. Our units are fighting in Bakhmut.
Wagner’s mercenaries fought in the longest and bloodiest war to date to take the eastern city and have previously claimed to have seized it.
The now largely destroyed city is not a strategically important location for Russia, but Ukraine has devoted vast amounts of resources to defending it.
Wagner’s leader Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed his forces had full control of Bakhmut – which Kyiv denies – in video recorded in front of destroyed buildings as explosions sounded in the distance.
Wagner’s mercenaries have fought the longest and bloodiest war to take the city from the east so far and have previously claimed to have seized it
Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Command, said Prigozhin’s claim “is not true”. Our units are fighting in Bakhmut’ (pictured: rockets were launched at Russian troops in Bakhmut yesterday)
Western estimates indicate that between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian troops were killed or wounded at Bakhmut, while the Ukrainian army also suffered heavily.
In its latest intelligence update, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Russia’s redeployment of “up to several battalions” to the region over the past four days followed Ukrainian tactical gains on the flanks of the city largely destroyed.
The Ministry of Defense added: “With Russia likely retaining relatively few uncommitted combat units in Ukraine, the redeployment represents a notable commitment on the part of the Russian command.
“The Russian leadership probably continues to view the capture of Bakhmut as the primary immediate war objective that would allow them to claim some degree of success in the conflict.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in Japan for talks with the leaders of the world’s most powerful democracies at the G7 summit.
Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app that they also discussed Ukraine’s needs for mine clearance and mobile hospitals in their first face-to-face meeting since Ukraine invaded Ukraine. Russia in February 2022, Reuters reported.
kyiv is preparing for a major counteroffensive to retake territory seized by Russia since February last year.
The news in Bakhmut comes after US President Joe Biden approved plans to train Ukrainian pilots on US-made F-16 jets, which could tip the balance in the war with Russia.
F-16 training will be conducted using European-owned but American-made F-16s and will likely begin in the coming weeks.
A shocking before and after of Bakhmut highlighting the devastation wrought by the conflict