Wagner chief says his troops are withdrawing units from Bakhmut

This video grab taken from a handout footage posted on May 25, 2023 on the Telegram account of the press service of Concord -- a company linked to the chief of Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin -- shows Yevgeny Prigozhin talking to his fighters in Bakhmut. The head of Russia's Wagner mercenary group chief said on May 25, 2023 his troops had started transferring their positions in the flashpoint eastern Ukraine town of Bakhmut to the Russian military. (Photo by Handout / TELEGRAM/ @concordgroup_official / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin talking to his fighters in Bakhmut (Picture: AFP)

Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin talking to his fighters in Bakhmut (Picture: AFP)

Mercenaries have started withdrawing from the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut after a bloody battle lasting longer than 10 months, Wagner’s boss has announced.

Yevgeny Prigozhin has vowed to transfer control of the regional transport and logistics hub in the Donetsk Oblast to the Russian army by June 1.

Footage shared on Telegram showed Vladimir Putin’s ally in the mostly levelled city as he made the announcement.

‘We are withdrawing the units from Bakhmut. From today at 5am, May 25, until June 1, most of them will rebase to camps in the rear,’ he said standing beside a shelled block of flats.

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‘We are handing our positions to the military.’

Many expect Ukraine to launch the highly-anticipated spring counteroffensive, potentially threatening the gains in the city and other frontline areas.

But the warlord added that its forces would be ready to return to the area the regular army struggled to control it.

Prigozhin first announced the capture of the city on Saturday – a win for Russia that analysts argue has little strategic value.

A Ukrainian soldier moves along a trench at a position near the frontline in Bakhmut (Picture: Reuters)

Ukrainian service members walk to an armoured personnel carrier outside of the city (Picture: Reuters)

Once again about the #counteroffensive. Without further questions.

1. This is not a “single event” that will begin at a specific hour of a specific day with a solemn cutting of the red ribbon.
2. These are dozens of different actions to destroy the #Russian occupation forces in…

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) May 25, 2023

But Ukraine has still not conceded that Bakhmut has fallen in the hands of the enemy.

Deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said earlier today that Russian soldiers have replaced Wagner units in the outskirts of the city, but added that fighters remain inside.

She stressed that Ukrainian forces still have a foothold in the city’s southwestern outskirts.

According to presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak, the counteroffensive is already underway.

He said that it should not be anticipated as a ‘single event’ starting ‘at a specific hour of a specific day with a solemn cutting of a red ribbon’.

In a statement on Twitter, he official added: ‘These are dozens of different actions to destroy the Russian occupation forces in different directions, which have already been taking place yesterday, are taking place today and will continue tomorrow.

‘Intensive destruction of enemy logistics is also a counteroffensive.’

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Source:: Metro


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