Russia trying to take ‘full control’ of Bakhmut, Ukraine acknowledges
Kyiv, Apr 3 (EFE).- Russian forces were trying to seize total control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Monday in an unusual official acknowledgment of the possibility of the city falling to Russia.
“The enemy does not cease its assault on Bakhmut in attempts to take it under full control,” said the General Staff’s situation report posted shortly after 6 am (04.00 GMT). “Ukrainian soldiers repelled over 20 enemy attacks.”
The report came hours after Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, which is leading Russian troops in the battle to take the city, said on Telegram that his men had taken control of central Bakhmut and city hall.
“In the legal sense, Bakhmut has been captured. The enemy is concentrated in western areas,” Prigozhin said in a video on Telegram.
“The commanders of the units that took over the city hall and the entire center will go and raise this flag,” he added, holding a Russian flag. “This is the Wagner private military company, these are the guys who took Bakhmut. In a legal sense, it’s ours.”
However, Ukraine’s General Staff on Sunday night had denied it had lost control of Bakhmut, saying that “Ukrainian defenders are courageously holding the city as they repel numerous enemy attacks.”
Also on Sunday night, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked his troops for defending Bakhmut, where the situation he said was “especially hot.”
Previously, an official from the Security Service of Ukraine said that the intensity of the fighting in Bakhmut was constantly changing and depended, above all, on the supply of ammunition received by each side.
Bakhmut has for months been the section of the Ukrainian front where the hardest fighting has taken place. Russia wants to take the city to continue its advance from the east, while Ukraine resists, fearing losing large swathes of territory should the city fall. EFE