Russia’s Wagner Group Claims Control of Pakmut, Kiev Says Fight Continues – POLITICO

Russia’s Wagner Group said on Saturday it had taken control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has recently seen heavy fighting in Moscow’s war on Ukraine, but Kiev denied the assertion and said heavy fighting continued there.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner’s leader, A Video According to media reports, Pakmut posted on Telegram that it had come under Russian control throughout Saturday afternoon reports.

“Today, at 12 noon, Buckmut was completely taken,” Prigozhin said In the video. “We took the whole town door to door.”

Ukrainian authorities denied that Wagner had established absolute control over Bagmut, but the situation in the city was extremely dangerous. Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Command, said The Associated Press called Prigogine’s claim “untrue.” Ukrainian “sections are fighting in Bagmut,” he said.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malier said heavy fighting was ongoing in the city. “The situation is dangerous,” he said. “Right now, our protectors control some of the industrial and infrastructure facilities in this area.”

The developments in eastern Ukraine came under Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. arrived Leaders of the world’s most powerful democracies held talks in Japan on Saturday aimed at rallying support for Ukraine’s defense against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 15-month-old invasion. Strengthening international support is a key priority as Ukraine prepares for an expected major counteroffensive to recapture territory seized by Russia.

The British Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Moscow appeared to be focusing on the battle around Bagmut, where fighting has raged for more than eight months. “Over the past four days, Russia has redeployed up to several battalions to reinforce the Pakmut sector,” the ministry said. said.

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“This follows Ukrainian tactical gains in the flank of the contested city of Donetsk Oblast in mid-May and has publicly aired doubts about the commitment of Group Wagner forces to continue fighting in the sector,” the ministry said. “The redeployment reflects a significant commitment by the Russian command,” it added.

“The Russian leadership may continue to see the capture of Bagmut as the main immediate war objective, which would allow it to achieve some degree of success in the conflict,” the British ministry said.

Prigozhin said his forces would withdraw from Pakmut in five days and hand over the city’s ruins to the regular Russian army. Reuters reported.

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