Russia announces the progress of its units from the Wagner Special Military Group in Bakhmut
The head of the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s Donetsk region said on Wednesday that units of the private military group Wagner were advancing on the town of Bakhmut, and a senior Ukrainian official said fighting there and in a second town was getting fiercer.
The area around Bakhmut, which had a pre-war population of 70,000, has seen some of the fiercest fighting in the 11-month-old war.
The city has symbolic significance for both Russia and Ukraine, but Western military analysts say it has little strategic importance.
Denis Pushlin, who was appointed by Russia as head of the regions it controls in Donetsk province, said that, fighting was taking place in the Bakhmut neighborhoods, which were previously controlled by Ukraine.
“Units, specifically Wagner units, are advancing in Artyomovsk (the Russian name for Bakhmut) itself, and the fighting is already taking place in the suburbs and neighborhoods that until recently were under enemy control,” he added.
Russia said earlier this month it had captured Solidar, to the northeast of Bakhmut, and Klishchevka, to the south of Bakhmut, in advances the Wagner Group took credit for.
The capture of Solidar made it possible to block Ukrainian supply routes and take control of some areas from which Ukrainian forces were carrying out retaliatory actions.