Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary company, claimed on the 20th local time that it had completely occupied Bakhmut,스포츠토토 a fierce battle in eastern Ukraine, but Ukraine denied this.
According to Reuters and AFP news agency, Prigozin said in a video released that day, “Bahmut was completely taken over by noon on the 20th local time, and the entire city was occupied, building by building.”
Dressed in combat uniform, he stood in front of soldiers holding Russian and Wagner Group flags, and an explosion was heard from afar during his speech, Reuters reported.
Ukraine denied Prigozhin’s allegations, but admitted that the situation was not looking good.
Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hannah Malyaar said on Telegram that the situation was serious, saying “heavy fighting is going on in Bakhmut”.
“Our defense forces now have control of some of Bahmut’s industry and infrastructure,” she added.
Bakhmut, in Donetsk province in eastern Ukraine, is the site of the longest fighting since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year.
Wagner Group mercenaries have been on the offensive to occupy this place for the past 10 months, and Ukraine has also defended the city by fighting attrition.
Prigozin said in March he claimed control of 70% of Bakhmut, and last month he took over the city administration building.
Ukraine has repeatedly denied Prigozhin’s claims, but it is losing control of Bahmut over time.