Wagner Group announces the control of a village in northern Bakhmut
The Russian Wagner Group said that it had captured a village in the north of the city of Bakhmut, Saturday, and that this was tactically important, while Ukrainian soldiers fighting to repel a Russian attack on the small city of Bakhmut in the east of the country demanded more weapons from the outside world as top Western leaders gathered in Munich on Friday to take stock of the year-long war that has rocked Europe.
According to the Russian news agency Interfax, the head of Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said that the town of Praskovievka, north of Bakhmut, is now under the full control of Wagner’s forces.
There is ongoing and intense fighting around the city of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine.
There was no independent confirmation of Wagner’s allegations, nor did the evening report of the Ukrainian General Staff mention them.
Russian military bloggers wrote that Praskovievka was an important point of the Ukrainian defense lines, and that if the nearby villages of Verkhievka, Pyrkhivka and Yahdny were also captured, it wouldn’t be possible to supply the Ukrainian forces stationed in Bakhmut from the north.
Fighting over control of Bakhmut has been going on for months.
Prigozhin took advantage of the ad to criticize the Russian Defense Ministry, saying that the advance had succeeded despite the ammunition blockade.
He said the fighting was draining and bloody.
The Wagner Group, which recruits prisoners, recently criticized the fact that it doesn’t get enough ammunition from the Russian army.
Earlier on Friday, the Ukrainian government urged all residents of Bakhmut to flee, as heavy fighting is expected to continue.
“If you are rational, law-abiding and patriotic citizens, you should leave the city immediately,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk wrote on her Telegram channel in an appeal on Friday to the believed to be a few thousand people remaining in the stricken town.
According to the Ukrainian government, five civilians were killed and nine others injured earlier.
Vereshok said the city, which was once home to 70,000 people in the Donetsk region, now has about 6,000 civilians.
Ukraine plans to launch a counter-offensive in the spring, but wants more, heavier and longer-range weapons from its Western allies.
The worst conflict in Europe since World War II has killed tens of thousands, driven millions from their homes, damaged the global economy and turned Putin into a pariah in the West.
Russia said, in its latest statement, that Thursday’s barrage of missile strikes around Ukraine had achieved its goals in hitting facilities that supply fuel and ammunition to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s army.
Kiev detected 36 missiles, 16 of which were shot down, and said that its largest oil refinery, Kremenchug, had been bombed.