Wagner Group have been “congratulated” by Vladimir Putin for “liberating” the city of Bakhmut which is now called “Artyomovsk” which is it’s old Soviet era name.
Fighting in Bakhmut has been raging for eight months and thousands of troops on both sides have been killed or injured.
Ukrainian authorities have disputed Wagner’s claims and said that their “units” are still “fighting in Bakhmut.”
The Kremlin said in a statement, “Vladimir Putin congratulated the assault units of Wagner as well as all servicemen of units of the Russian armed forces who provided them with the necessary support and flank cover, on the completion of the operation to liberate Artemovsk (the Soviet-era name for Bakhmut).”
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The Russian ministry said, “In the Artyomovsk [Bakhmut] tactical direction, the assault teams of the Wagner private military company with the support of artillery and aviation of the southern battlegroup has completed the liberation of the city of Artyomovsk.”
Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman for Ukraine’s eastern command, told The Associated Press that the Wagner chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s claim “is not true. Our units are fighting in Bakhmut.”
Ukrainian MP Andrii Osadchuk, MP for the Golos party has described Bakhmut as a “mouse trap” for Russian troops.
He told Sky News, “From the very beginning of the war the Kremlin was desperately needing victories, they don’t have victories at all, they only had losses.
“They created this myth about Bakhmut like it’s something extremely important for them.
“From the very beginning we understood that on a technical point Bakhmut is a regular city which is not a big one.
“At the end of the day, Bakhmut is a mouse trap for Russian forces in Ukraine’s southeast and definitely Ukraine’s military will continue its operation because our target is very simple – we need to liquidate their forces as much possible.”