After Months of Intense fighting in Bakhmut City; The Battle dubbed World war I and II.
Pro-Russia Forces, Wagner PMC finally captures Bakhmut City, Ukraine.
* Addressing Zelenskyy, Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s wagner PMC said: “Today when you see Biden, kiss him on the top of his head, say hi to him from me.”
The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, on Saturday claimed full control of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the focus of the longest and bloodiest battle of the war.
“Today, at 12 noon, Bakhmut was completely taken,” Prigozhin said. “We completely took the whole city, from house to house.”
He said that his forces would withdraw from Bakhmut from May 25 for rest and retraining, handing over control to the regular Russian army.
Distant explosions could be heard in the background as Prigozhin spoke during the video.
Prigozhin taunted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and US President Joe Biden, who were taking part in a Group of Seven summit in Japan on Saturday where the Ukraine war was front of mind for world leaders.
Addressing Zelenskyy, Prigozhin said: “Today when you see Biden, kiss him on the top of his head, say hi to him from me.”
CNN BREAKING NEWS
The chief of the Russian private military group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed Saturday that his forces have taken complete control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut after months of brutal fighting.
“The operation to capture Bakhmut lasted 224 days,” he said in a video posted to Telegram, seeking to claim a final victory for the city.
CNN could not independently verify Prigozhin’s claim, but an initial response from the Ukrainian side disputed it.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar, in a Telegram post less than an hour after the Russian mercenary’s claim was published, admitted the situation in Bakhmut was “critical” but said Ukrainian troops were still “holding the defense” in the “Airplane” in a district on Bakhmut’s western-most edge.
“As of now, our defenders control certain industrial and infrastructure facilities in the area and the private sector,” she said
THE ‘BATTLE OF BAKHMUT’
The battle of Bakhmut is an ongoing series of military engagements in and near the city of Bakhmut between the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian Armed Forces during the larger battle for Donbas. While the shelling of Bakhmut began in May 2022, the main assault towards the city started on 1 August after Russian forces advanced from the Popasna direction, following a Ukrainian withdrawal from that front. The main assault force primarily consists of mercenaries from the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner Group, supported by regular Russian troops and DPR and LPR separatist elements.
Wagner troops were able to gradually gain ground and by February 2023, they captured territory in the north and south of Bakhmut and threatened encirclement, forcing Ukrainian forces to slowly pull out into the city, and the battle turned into fierce urban warfare. By March 2023, Russian forces captured the eastern half of the city, up to the Bakhmutka river, and continued to advance into Ukrainian-controlled parts of Bakhmut. The intensity of battles in the Bakhmut sector has been compared to that of World Wars I and II.
See video below: