The owner of Russia’s Wagner Group military company claimed Wednesday that his troops have extended their gains in the key Ukrainian stronghold of Bakhmut as fierce fighting continues in the war’s longest battle.
Yevgeny Prigozhin said Wagner troops have taken full control of the eastern part of Bakhmut. He claimed that they now control all districts east of the Bakhmutka River that crosses the city in the eastern Donetsk region. The center of Bakhmut is located west of the river.
Neither Russian nor Ukrainian officials commented on Prigozhin’s claim. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think-tank that closely monitors the fighting in Ukraine, said in its latest analysis that “Russian forces have likely captured the eastern part of Bakhmut, east of the Bakhmutka River, following a controlled Ukrainian withdrawal from eastern Bakhmut as of March 7.”
The Wagner Group has spearheaded the Russian offensive in Bakhmut that has lasted for six months and reduced the city with a prewar population of more than 70,000 to a smoldering wasteland.