'Critical': Russia’s Wagner group leader claims 'complete control' of Bakhmut but Ukraine denies victory
The Russian Wagner mercenary group, led by President Vladimir Putin's "chef," Yevgeny Prigozhin, announced the unit took "complete control" of the Ukranian city of Bakhmut Saturday, Politico reports.
Prigozhin's announcement comes as Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with G-7 leaders in Japan Saturday asking for more aid against Putin.
However, according to Politico, although Ukrainian officials deemed the incident "critical," they also deny Wagner's victory, as Ukraine's eastern command spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi said Prigozhin's announcement "is not true."
READ MORE: Vladimir Putin's 'chef' says his mercenaries 'will take Bakhmut anyway' despite Kremlin's 'envy'
He emphasized, "Ukrainian 'units are fighting in Bakhmut.'"
Still, according to Reuters, the Russian leader claimed Saturday in a video,"Today, at 12 noon, Bakhmut was completely taken. We completely took the whole city, from house to house."
Reuters also reports Prigozhin said "his forces would pull out of Bakhmut in five days and hand the ruins of the city over to the regular Russian military."
The British Ministry of Defense noted Saturday, "Russia's leadership likely continue to see capturing Bakhmut as the key immediate war aim which would allow them to claim some degree of success in the conflict."
Per Politico "fighting has raged" in Bakhmut "for more than eight months."
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Politico's full report is available at this link. Reuters' report is here (subscription required).
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