Kyiv confirms withdrawal of Wagner soldiers from Bakhmut suburbs
Kyiv, May 25 (EFE).- The Ukrainian government on Thursday claimed that units of the Wagner mercenary group have been replaced by regular Russian troops in the suburbs of Bakhmut, after the head of the Russian private military company announced that they would begin to transfer their positions to the military.
“In the suburbs of Bakhmut, the enemy has replaced the Wagner PMC units with regular army units, while ‘Wagnerites’ remain in the city itself,” Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar told state news agency Ukrinform.
Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin had on May 21 declared that his fighters had completed the mission to completely seize the city – which has witnessed some of the fiercest battles of the war and been under siege for months – and announced that the mercenaries would withdraw from Bakhmut and hand over control to the Russian military.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has insisted that its troops continue to fight in some areas of the city.
Discussing the remaining Ukrainian strongholds in Bakhmut, Maliar said that her troops control outskirts of the city in the southwestern Litak district, an area where Kyiv’s forces have put up resistance.
“The enemy is trying to stop our advance along the flanks with artillery shelling. The enemy is now pulling additional units to the flanks” – where the Ukrainians have pushed back the Russian troops by several kilometers in recent days – the minister added.
In earlier statements, Maliar had discussed the possibility that the Russian troops – which now control nearly all of Bakhmut’s municipal area – may be exposed to Ukrainian fire from the outskirts.
She said that Russian attacks had been repelled by Ukrainian forces near Avdiivka and Marinka, other flashpoints in the eastern warfront.
The minister also mentioned ongoing fighting in the Kupiansk, where “the enemy is attacking, trying to seize a foothold for further advancement, and suffering losses.” EFE