Ukraine: Wagner Group says it will withdraw from Bakhmout by June 1
The paramilitary group Wagner announced plans on Monday to complete the transfer of its positions in Bakhmout to the Russian army on June 1, while Ukraine stressed that the battle continued despite the Russian claim of capture.
• Also read: Ukraine: Wagner chief announces full capture of Bakhmout by Russians
• Also read: Zelensky denies the capture of Bakhmout, as claimed by Russia
On Saturday, the leader of Wagner’s men, Yevgeny Prigojine, and the Russian army claimed responsibility for taking Bakhmout in eastern Ukraine after months of bloody fighting.
The Ukrainian authorities, for their part, claim to still control a few buildings in the largely destroyed city and, above all, to advance in its suburbs by attacking the Russian flanks.
“On the western edge (of Bakhmout) the defense lines are in place. So the Wagner group will leave Artiomovsk (the city’s Soviet name, ed. note) between May 25 and June 1,” Mr. Prigojine said Monday in an audio recording released of his press service.
After that, Wagner’s boss again attacked the Russian military hierarchy, with whom he is in conflict, accusing those responsible of depriving his men of ammunition and of being too far back from the field.
“If there are not enough units in the Ministry of Defense (to occupy Bakhmout), there are thousands of generals (to do it), you have to form a regiment of generals, give them all weapons and everything will be fine.” he praised on Monday.
Kiev has not confirmed Bakhmout’s loss.
The commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Oleksandre Syrsky, said on Sunday that his troops controlled only an “insignificant” part of the city but continued to advance on its flanks.
On Monday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar assured that the Ukrainian troops engaged in Bakhmout “control certain buildings”, adding on Telegram that “the battle on the flanks, north and south, continues”.
“The fighting continues,” she repeated.
Mrs. Maliar also welcomed the tactical success, according to her, of the Ukrainian army’s relentless defense of this city, now destroyed by the war.
In fact, according to analysts and Kiev, the Russian forces have sacrificed a lot of personnel and equipment to capture Bakhmout, troops that the Russians may miss when Ukraine launches its offensive to retake the occupied territories.
“The defense of Bakhmout is meeting its military objectives,” Maliar said with satisfaction.
“The enemy’s offensive potential has been greatly reduced, the enemy has suffered huge losses and we have gained time,” she continued, as Kiev said it was finalizing preparations to launch a massive offensive.