World

Russia says its troops have fully captured Ukrainian city of Bakhmut

  • Moscow says city has been liberated
  • Russia’s Wagner says it can pull out of Bakhmut in 5 days
  • No instant response from Kyiv to Russia declare
  • Ukrainian forces have been advancing close to Bakhmut

May 20 (Reuters) – Russia claimed on Saturday to have fully captured the smashed japanese Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which if true would mark an finish to the longest and bloodiest battle of the 15-month battle.

The assault on the largely levelled city was led by troops from the Wagner Group of mercenaries, whose chief Yevgeny Prigozhin stated earlier within the day that his troops had lastly pushed the Ukrainians out of the final built-up space contained in the city.

Kyiv denied Prigozhin’s declare. Taking Bakhmut – which Russia refers to by its Soviet-era identify of Artyomovsk – would characterize Moscow’s first large victory within the battle in additional than 10 months.

“As a result of offensive actions by Wagner assault units, supported by artillery and aviation of the Southern Group of Forces, the liberation of Artyomovsk has been completed,” the Russian defence ministry stated in a one-line assertion.

There was no instant response from Kyiv to the declare, which comes after per week through which Ukrainian forces have made their most fast positive aspects for six months on Bakhmut’s northern and southern flanks.

Prigozhin, who has repeatedly denounced Russia’s common army for abandoning floor captured earlier by his males, stated his personal forces would now pull out of Bakhmut in 5 days to relaxation, handing the ruins over to the common army.

“Today, at 12 noon, Bakhmut was completely taken,” Prigozhin stated in a video through which he appeared in fight fatigues in entrance of a line of fighters holding Russian flags and Wagner banners. “We completely took the whole city, from house to house.”

Ukrainian army spokesperson Serhiy Cherevatyi, reacting to Prigozhin’s feedback earlier than Russia’s announcement, advised Reuters: “This is not true. Our units are fighting in Bakhmut.”

UKRAINE COUNTEROFFENSIVE EXPECTED

Whether the Ukrainian forces have left Bakhmut or not, they have been slowly pulling again inside it, to clusters of buildings on the city’s western edge.

Meanwhile, to the north and south, they have seized swathes of territory from Russian troops.

Russia has acknowledged shedding some floor round Bakhmut prior to now week, whereas denying assertions by Prigozhin that the flanks across the city guarded by common troops have collapsed.

Kyiv says its goal in Bakhmut has been to attract Russian forces from elsewhere on the entrance into the city, to inflict excessive casualties there and weaken Moscow’s line of defense elsewhere forward of a deliberate main counteroffensive.

Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Giles Elgood

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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