By Chris King • 27 May 2023 • 2:44
Image of Wagner PMC boss Yevgeny Prighozin.
Credit: Telegram Concorde press agency
Wagner PMC has initiated the transfer of control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut to the regular Russian army.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the mercenary group confirmed the ongoing withdrawal process this Thursday, May 25, which is expected to conclude by next week. However, his decision to leave behind two unfit fighters for potential assistance has sparked controversy.
Prigozhin’s statement was recorded in a video reportedly filmed in Bakhmut, in which he announced the withdrawal and the handover of positions, ammunition, and supplies to the Russian military.
In a lighthearted tone, he introduced two of his fighters, who he introduced as Biber and Dolik. He then humorously suggested that they would impede the Ukrainian army if they attempted to enter the city.
While Prigozhin stated a completion date of June 1 for the withdrawal, official confirmation from Ukrainian sources is currently unavailable. Officials in Kyiv previously dismissed Prigozhin’s public statements as unreliable.
Recently, Russia claimed victory in Bakhmut, signifying the end of a ferocious nine-month battle that resulted in substantial casualties on both sides and extensive damage to the city.
However, Kyiv maintains that it still holds a presence in an outlying district of the city and continues counter-attacks on the Russian flanks to the north and south.
Prigozhin emphasised the pivotal role played by his Wagner Group in Russia’s capture of Bakhmut, utilising it as leverage in his ongoing feud with Sergei Shoigu, the head of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
He also acknowledged the unfortunate loss of around 10,000 prisoners recruited by the Wagner during the battle, which amounts to around 20 per cent of his army.
Separately, a prisoner exchange took place near Bakhmut on Thursday. Video footage was posted on Prigozhin’s official Concord press agency Telegram channel.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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