War in Ukraine: Wagner Group head says Russian army flees Bakhmut and defenses ‘collapse’

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On Friday, the head of the Wagner paramilitary group accused the Russian regular army of “flee” from their positions near Bakhmut, Ukraine, and felt that Russian defenses were “collapsing” and military commanders were downplaying the situation. Yevgeny Prigozhin’s denunciation coincides with Kiev’s declaration that his strength has recovered the logistics center of this long-contested city.

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“Just joined defense ministry units” to Bakhmut, Prigozhin said in a video. The “collapse” of defenses, attempts to “smooth the situation” will lead to a global tragedy for Russia, he added.

According to him, Ukrainian forces have regained control of a reservoir north of Bakhmut and have taken up positions in elevated tactical zones, overlooking the city.

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Yevgeny Prigozhin.  Photo: AP

Yevgeny Prigozhin. Photo: AP

He also said Kiev had regained the road leading to the town of Chasiv Yar further west, which had been blocked by Russian forces for several weeks.

Prigozhin’s statements cannot be independently verified.

Kiev reports

Ukraine has released statements confirming the version of the head of the Wagner group.

Ukrainian military commanders announced on Friday that their troops they retook more territory from Russian forces at the site of the longest and bloodiest battle of the war, at Bakhmut, but it was unclear whether this marked the beginning of the long-awaited Kiev counter-offensive.

the Ukrainian army still need time before launching a counteroffensive, Volodimir Zelensky said in an interview broadcast by the BBC on Thursday. The operation has been preparing for months, while the front has been practically frozen since last year.

Ukrainian soldiers in captured Russian tanks.  Photo: AP

Ukrainian soldiers in captured Russian tanks. Photo: AP

Analysts cite the Zaporiya region as the probable scene of this major offensive.

As for Bakhmut, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement on Friday that kyiv it had intensified its attacks in the north of the region.

They represent the two kilometers (1.2 miles) of territory recaptured by Ukrainian forces south of Bakhmut this week remarkable progress for kyiv and will protect an important supply chain, according to the commanders of Ukraine’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, a special forces unit that spearheaded the attack.

Zelensky said he met with top military commanders on Friday. He stressed that he had heard a report from General Oleksandr Syrskyi, whose forces “stopped the enemy and even forced them to retreat in some directions”.

In a statement posted to Telegram, Hanna Maliar confirmed on Friday that Ukrainian forces had gained ground around the city, reiterating statements made by Ukrainian military commanders this week.

The battle for Bakhmut, once a salt-mining town, has raged on for eight months, the longest of the war so far.

the counteroffensive

In a dialogue with RFI, Ukrainian commander Ashot Arutiunian expressed his desire for a counter-offensive and an end to months of stalemate and attrition warfare.

Russian soldiers of a tactical unit cover a mortar near Bakhmut.  Photo: EFE

Russian soldiers of a tactical unit cover a mortar near Bakhmut. Photo: EFE

Led by a team of volunteers operating aerial reconnaissance drones, he said: “I think everyone is fed up with this frozen situation. Nobody likes it, neither we nor the Russians. We produce this counter-offensive. But when I’m in Kiev and people ask me ‘when are you going to strike back?’, i want to hit them, why a strike back That’s a one in five chance of survival. for the soldiers. It is a very difficult task, I have experienced it in Kiev and Kherson. defense is easier”.

“Yes, I want a change, I want to end this war as soon as possible, but I think the military and political authorities know when to start this operation. no need to rush”, he tells RFI.

With his teams of drone pilots, the commander can get a clear picture of what’s happening on the other side:”They fortified their positions well. they have had enough time. They are digging much better than us, faster and more efficient. From what I’ve seen of digs of him, I take my hat off.”

Waiting for possible moves, the two sides will continue to observe each other through drones.


Source: Clarin

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