War in Ukraine: Russian paramilitary group Wagner announces withdrawal from Bakhmout

War in Ukraine: Yevgeny Prigojine, the leader of Wagner, announces the total capture of Bakhmout

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The town of Bakhmout in Donetsk, Ukraine, had been surrounded for weeks by Russian troops. This May 20, 2023, the paramilitary group Wagner announced its complete capture. Control of the city is expected to be transferred to Russia on May 25.

Captured after weeks of siege. For the head of Wagner, the Kremlin did not contribute to this ” victory » that his troops snatched alone. The head of the Russian paramilitary group Evguéni Prigojine, claimed this Saturday, May 20 the total capture by his men of the city of Bakhmout, epicenter of fighting which has lasted since last summer in eastern Ukraine.

“On May 20, 2023, today, at noon, Bakhmout was taken in its entirety”Prigojine announced in a video broadcast by his press service on Telegram, where he stands alongside armed men in front of ruined buildings. “The operation to take Bakhmout lasted 224 days (…) There was only Wagner here”added the one who is in open conflict with the Russian military hierarchy.

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In response, kyiv explained that it controlled certain areas in Bakhmout, while judging that the situation on the ground was very difficult for the Ukrainian defenders.

Wagner announces going back to his basics

” The situation is critical. At the same time (…) our defenders control certain industrial facilities and infrastructure in the area as well as in the private sector”Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar commented on Telegram. “I am absolutely sure that Ukraine will reconquer Bakhmout during our counter-offensive”said Oleksiy Goncharenko, MP for Odessa, who spoke on BFMTV after the announcement of the Russian Wagner militia.

After the announcement of Bakhmout’s capture, Evgeni Prigojine for his part let it be known that his men would transfer control of the Ukrainian town to the Russian army in a few days. “By May 25, we will completely search the town, create defensive positions and hand it over to the military to deal with. On our side, we will go back to the basics”Prigojine said in a video released by his press service.

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The battle for Bakhmout, a devastated city whose strategic importance is disputed, is the longest and deadliest since the beginning of the conflict. Both sides have suffered heavy losses there while most of the fighting has been concentrated there for months.