THE head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner has claimed complete control of the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut.
“Today, May 20, around noon, Bakhmut was fully captured,” Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed in a video published today on Telegram, while Ukraine denies his claims.
The Ukrainian military denied that the Wagner militia had taken full control of the city and said their troops continued to fight there.
“That is not true. Our units are fighting in Bakhmut,” military spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi told Reuters
The brutal warlord made the outlandish claim today while his mercenary fighters held the Russian flag behind him, surrounded by the ruins of the city.
“Today, at 12 noon, Bakhmut was completely trapped,” Prigozhin said.
“We completely took over the whole city, from house to house.”
He added that starting May 25, his forces would withdraw from Bakhmut to rest and retrain, handing control over to the regular Russian army.
As Prigozhin spoke during the video, distant explosions could be heard in the background.
The battered and besieged city is the scene of the longest and bloodiest battle of Moscow’s 15-month offensive.
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