Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the mercenary company of the Wagner group, announced on Thursday the beginning of the withdrawal of his units from the city of Bakhmut and the transfer of their positions to the troops of the Russian army.
“We retreated very carefully,” Prigozhin said in a video posted on his Telegram channel. The leader of the mercenary group said that the transfer took place between Thursday and June 1.
After months of intense fighting in what was billed as the longest battle of the war, Russia said this weekend it had completed taking Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, a ruined city that has acquired deep symbolism for both sides. during the invasion.
Since then, however, there has been some confusion: Ukraine, which has claimed several tactical gains on the flanks of the city in recent weeks, has said the battle is not over.
Moscow won a long-awaited victory after a winter offensive that bore little fruit elsewhere and military setbacks on the front last year, but experts say the war has limited strategic value and will give them a chance. launch more offensives westward into areas of the region still under Ukrainian control, including some heavily fortified ones. For Kiev, which maintains a fierce and continuous defense, the loss of the city, in addition to territorial concessions, means a blow, mostly symbolic.
Led by Wagner’s mercenary group, the Russian offensive has managed to slowly advance on Bakhmut since the beginning of this year, overturning Ukrainian forces in the western part and capturing most of the city. The city is located in the northeast of the Donetsk region, which has been the focus of fierce and costly fighting since last summer, which has caused heavy casualties on both sides and left the city devastated, as can be seen in countless pictures of it burned and burned. Reduced buildings to ruins.
Bakhmut is a relatively small town, where before the war – in March, about 70,000 people lived. According to local authorities that at that time there were only 4000 inhabitants Moscow-placed leaders talk of ‘several dozen residents’-. Until now, however, it had remained out of reach of the Russian offensive for months in a battle that controversially featured Kiev’s staunch resistance, as did Mariupol, which ultimately failed. Russian hands in May 2022.
All this time, Bakhmut was a trench war, constant artillery fire and street battles. Ukraine has accused Russia of using “scorched earth tactics” there to destroy buildings that were left standing – and that were shelters and protections for the urban resistance.
Source: El Diario