Wagner group leader: We’re facing fierce resistance in the ongoing battles to control Bakhmut


The head of Russia’s private military group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said in an interview on Friday that Russian forces must capture the strategic city of Bakhmut to advance their campaign, but they face fierce resistance from Ukrainian defenders.

In an interview with a Russian military correspondent, he added that Russia should set clear goals in its nearly one year campaign to firmly establish itself in eastern Ukraine or move forward to seize more territory.

Moscow started its operation in Ukraine on February 24th of last year after it annexed Crimea in 2014, and its proxies seized swathes of territory in eastern Ukraine it calls the people’s republics in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Prigozhin, a businessman and restaurateur, criticized the Russian military leadership and some officials.

Wagner’s forces played a major role, especially last month in taking control of the town of Solidar, outside Bakhmut, which has seen months of fighting and bombing.

“There is a need to take control of Bakhmut so that our forces can operate comfortably,” Prigozhin said.

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