Ukraine: Wagner Group says to withdraw from Bakhmout by June 1
The paramilitary group Wagner announced on Monday plans to complete the transfer of its positions in Bakhmout to the Russian army on June 1, while Ukraine stressed that the battle continues despite the Russian claim of conquest .
On Saturday, the leader of Wagner's men, Yevgeny Prigojine, and the Russian army claimed responsibility for taking Bakhmout in eastern Ukraine under months of bloody fighting.
For their part, the Ukrainian authorities 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.
“In the western outskirts (of Bakhmout), the lines of defense are in place. So the Wagner group will leave Artiomovsk (Soviet name of the city, Editor's note) between May 25 and June 1, ”said Mr. Prigojine on Monday in an audio recording published by his press service.
Then , Wagner's boss again lashed out at the Russian military hierarchy with whom he is at odds, accusing officials of starving his men of ammunition and being too far back from the field.
< p>“If there are not enough units of 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 rifles, and everything will be fine,” he quipped on Monday.
Kyiv has not confirmed the loss of Bakhmout.
The commander of the Ukrainian ground forces, Oleksandre Syrsky , claimed on Sunday that his troops now controlled only an “insignificant” part of the city, but continued to advance on its flanks.
On Monday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar assured the Ukrainian troops engaged in Bakhmout “control certain buildings”, adding on Telegram that “the battle on the flanks, north and south, continues”. p>
“The fighting continues”, she repeated.
Ms. Maliar also welcomed the tactical success, according to her, of the relentless defense by the Ukrainian army of this city now devastated by war.
Indeed, according to analysts and Kyiv, the Russian forces sacrificed a lot of men and material to conquer Bakhmout, troops which the Russians when Ukraine launches its offensive to reconquer the occupied territories.
“The defense of Bakhmout fulfills its military objectives”, welcomed Ms. Maliar.
“The offensive potential of the enemy has been considerably reduced, the enemy has suffered enormous losses and we have gained time”, she continued, at a time when Kyiv said it was completing its preparations to launch a major assault .