After seven months of fighting: The head of Wagner’s mercenary group in Russia, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed today (Saturday) that full control had been achieved in the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine, which for months has been at the center of the longest and bloodiest battle since the war began.
Reuters could not independently confirm the claim. In Ukraine they denied: the spokesman of Ukraine’s Eastern Military Command denied that Wagner’s force had gained full control over Bakhmut.
Head of Force Wagner claims: “We have achieved full control of Bahmut” | Russia Ukraine war
Prigozhin announced this in a video where he appeared in battle fatigues in front of a line of fighters holding Russian flags and Wagner’s poster. Distant explosions could be heard in the background as Prigozhin spoke during the video.
“Today, at 12 noon, Bakhmut was completely captured,” Prigozhin claimed, saying that his forces would withdraw from the city from May 25 for rest and retraining. “We completely took the whole city, house to house,” he claimed.
Last night it was reported that the United States and its allies agreed to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, a long time after Ukraine requested them, according to a report on the NBC network. With the support of the United States, Ukrainian pilots will be trained to fly them in a joint training program of the allies. In the meantime, the Danish Ministry of Defense said that Denmark will train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 planes, following the US decision to withdraw the training.
This is a significant step in support of Ukraine, when Kiev seeks to increase the intensity of its airstrikes against Russia. American officials estimated that the time required for the transfer of the planes and the training of the pilots is about 18 months.
Following the Western countries’ announcement of the supply of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine, Russia reacted to the move and sharply warned the West against such a move. The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Alexander Grushko, said that “Western countries will face enormous risks if they supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.”