Bakhmut has fallen, Russia in control: Wagner chief
The commander of the Wagner Private Military Company reports that Bakhmut has fallen into the hands of the Russian Armed Forces.
The Russian Armed Forces have gained full control over the city of Bakhmut, also known as Artyomvsk, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group private military company said Saturday.
Prigozhin announced the affair in a video in which he appeared in combat fatigues in front of a line of fighters sporting Russian flags and Wagner banners.
"Today, at 12 noon, Bakhmut was completely taken," Prigozhin proclaimed. "We completely took the whole city, from house to house."
🚨🇷🇺🇺🇦 Da capire quanto ci sia di vero, vista l'attendibilità del personaggio, ma #Prigozhin ha appena annunciato la completa presa di #Bakhmut da parte del Gruppo #Wagner. pic.twitter.com/w4BFAfGrIb— Dario D'Angelo (@dariodangelo91) May 20, 2023
Ukraine is yet to make a comment on the matter.
This comes after media reports said Prigozhin was prepared to share data regarding the position of Russian troops with Ukraine, which Russia dismissed as fake news.
Ukrainian-Russian war. Day 450:— @Suriyak (@Suriyakmaps) May 20, 2023
After nine months of combats #RussianArmy took full control over the city of Bakhmut/Artemivsk. Now the city is under the control of Donetsk Popular Republic.
Map: [ https://t.co/nDaA4xE2dx ] pic.twitter.com/FKSrvFmUy3
The Washington Post reported Sunday that US intelligence documents said Prigozhin offered Ukraine in late January to share sensitive information regarding the Russian armed forces, namely the positions of Russian troops, in exchange for Kiev withdrawing its soldiers from the area around the city of Bakhmut.
Prigozhin announced in a Telegram video that his forces will be withdrawing from Bakhmut City in Donbas on May 10, stating that the reason for this measure is that his units have been suffering significant losses due to a lack of artillery munitions and that they will be retreating to the rear camps to "lick their wounds."
Bakhmut, situated north of Donetsk, holds strategic significance for the course of the war. The city had long been the transportation route of food and supplies for the Ukrainian troops stationed in Donbass.
Moreover, reports that came out earlier in the month said Prigozhin requested that Moscow allow him to hand his forces' positions in Bakhmut to the Akhmat battalion led by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
The Chechen commander said that if Wagner leaves Bakhmut then the "[Russian] General Staff will lose an experienced combat unit," however, the Akhmat battalion is ready to replace the paramilitary group and "advance and take the city."