Russia says Wagner fighters take two more blocks in battered Bakhmut
FILE PHOTO: Smoke is seen in this drone footage of Bakhmut amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in this screen grab obtained from a handout video released on April 15, 2023. Adam Tactic Group/Handout via REUTERS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY
(Reuters) – Russia said on Sunday that Wagner mercenary units supported by airborne troops had captured two more city blocks in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, target of a major offensive by Moscow.
Wagner has spearheaded Russia’s attempt to take Bakhmut since last summer in what has been the longest and deadliest battle of the war for both sides.
Russia’s defence ministry said Wagner assault squads had taken two blocks in the northwestern and southeastern parts of Bakhmut, which has largely been destroyed in the fighting.
Russian army paratroop units were supporting Wagner by holding back Ukrainian forces on the flanks, it added.
Reuters could not independently verify Russia’s claim, which Kyiv did not directly address.
Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern military command, said Wagner troops were acting as a battering ram and attacking dozens of times a day.
“The enemy continued to attack our positions with satanic zeal,” he told the Ukrainian parliament’s television channel.
Britain said in an intelligence update on Friday that Ukrainian troops had been forced to withdraw from some territory in the city in the face of a renewed Russian assault.