Russia Says Key Ukraine City Bakhmut Captured, Putin Congratulates Troops

Russia Says Key Ukraine City Bakhmut Captured, Putin Congratulates Troops

Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed town had fallen to his mercenaries


Russia mentioned Saturday it has captured the east Ukrainian metropolis of Bakhmut, epicentre of the combating, as President Vladimir Putin congratulated his troops and personal mercenary group Wagner.

The announcement from the Russian military got here hours after Kyiv mentioned the battle was persevering with, whereas admitting the scenario was “crucial”, and with Ukrainian chief Volodymyr Zelensky assembly G7 leaders in Japan.

Bakhmut, a salt-mining city that after had a inhabitants of 70,000 individuals, has been the scene of the longest and bloodiest battle in Moscow’s greater than year-long Ukraine offensive.

The fall of Bakhmut, the place each Moscow and Kyiv are believed to have suffered large losses, would permit Moscow to deliver house a key victory after a collection of humiliating defeats.

It would additionally come earlier than a serious counteroffensive that Kyiv has been making ready for months. Zelensky himself has warned that the autumn of town would open the best way for Russian troops to seize extra components of Donbas.

“As a results of offensive actions of the Wagner assault items, with the assist of artillery and aviation of the ‘Southern’ unit, the liberation of town of Artemovsk was accomplished,” Russia’s defence ministry mentioned, utilizing the Soviet-era title of Bakhmut.

“Vladimir Putin congratulated the assault items of Wagner in addition to all servicemen of items of the Russian armed forces who offered them with the mandatory assist and flank cowl, on the completion of the operation to liberate” town, the TASS information company quoted a Kremlin assertion as saying.

Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin earlier claimed town had fallen to his mercenaries in a video posted on Telegram, during which fighters held Russian flags towards a backdrop of ruins.

“Today on May 20, round noon, Bakhmut was taken in its entirety,” Prigozhin mentioned within the video, including that Wagner fighters would search the captured metropolis earlier than handing it over to the Russian military.

“By May 25 we are going to fully look at (Bakhmut), create the mandatory strains of defence and hand it to the army,” Prigozhin mentioned. “We ourselves will go into area camps.”

Artillery sound might be heard within the background of Prigozhin’s video.

– ‘Bakhmut will probably be liberated’ –

Ukraine, which this month claimed successes in and round Bakhmut, mentioned earlier that the battle was not over.

“Heavy combating in Bakhmut. The scenario is crucial,” deputy defence minister Ganna Malyar posted on Telegram.

She mentioned Ukrainian troops had been “holding the defence” within the metropolis’s “Airplane space”.

“As of now, our defenders management sure industrial and infrastructure services within the space,” she mentioned.

It was not doable for AFP to confirm both declare.

Russia’s announcement that town had fallen got here hours forward of Zelensky’s assembly Sunday with US President Joe Biden in Japan, through the G7 summit.

Biden, who has spearheaded Western backing of Ukraine with sanctions and provides, “appears to be like ahead” to the assembly, a senior administration official mentioned, including that it’s anticipated to happen after 2:00pm (0500 GMT) Sunday.

Zelensky made a shock look Saturday on the summit in Hiroshima — one other diplomatic coup a day after he attended the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia.

The Ukrainian president, who was flown in on a French authorities airplane, was capable of meet not simply G7 leaders however these from different key worldwide gamers comparable to unaligned powers Brazil and India.

The fruits of his diplomatic efforts have already paid off, with the US saying Friday that it might permit Kyiv to amass F-16 fighter jets, essentially the most subtle materials but provided by the West.

– ICC denounces Moscow warrant –

Prigozhin in the meantime continued his operating battle with Russia’s army institution.

“The operation to seize Bakhmut — the Bakhmut meat grinder — lasted 224 days,” Prigozhin mentioned, carrying a camouflage uniform. Moscow’s losses would have been far smaller if it was not for incompetent generals, he added.

Wagner, which spearheaded the combat for Bakhmut, is believed to have suffered large losses within the months-long storming of town. Prigozhin has lengthy complained about Wagner not being given acceptable quantities of ammunition.

“There was solely Wagner right here (in Bakhmut),” he mentioned within the video. “We fought not solely the Ukrainian military right here, we fought Russian forms.”

He blamed Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov for turning the offensive into “their very own amusement”.

The two camps at the moment are awaiting a counteroffensive introduced by Ukrainian authorities who’re backed by Western arms deliveries. Zelensky mentioned not too long ago that his military wants extra time earlier than launching the assault.

The International Criminal Court on Saturday denounced the day gone by’s “unacceptable” transfer by Moscow to place ICC prosecutor Karim Khan on a needed listing over his issuance of an arrest warrant for Putin.

“The court docket will stay undeterred within the conduct of its lawful mandate to make sure accountability for the gravest crimes,” the Hague-based tribunal mentioned.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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