The boss of Russian mercenary company Wagner, Yevgueni Prigozhin, today urged Ukraine’s President to let out of “children and elderly people who defend” Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, which he says is virtually surrounded by Russian contractors.
“Units of the Wagner private military company practically surrounded the entire (area) of Bakhmut. Only one road left. The ‘pincers’ tighten,” said Prigozhin in statements recorded in a video directed at Volodymyr Zelensky and broadcast by the Telegram messaging system.
In the images, Prigozhin appears in uniform on the roof of a building allegedly located on the outskirts of Bakhmut.
Statements about the situation in the city have not yet been confirmed by independent sources.
“If before, the troops of the Ukrainian professional army fought against us, now we see more and more children and elderly people, but their lives here are short. A day or two,” he stated.
Yevgueni Prigozhin asks Zelensky to let the “defenders” abandon Bakhmut.
“The city is ‘in fact’ surrounded”, underlined the boss of Grupo Wagner, who showed in the images two teenagers and an elderly man, supposedly captured during fighting.
Previously, an alleged Ukrainian official identified by the name “Magyar” pointed out on the digital messaging network Telegram that the unit he commands had received an order to withdraw from Bakhmut but that 4,500 civilians remained in the city, out of a total of 70,000 residents.
The information about “Magiar” spread by social networks was also not confirmed by independent sources.
Zelensky declared that Kiev troops will defend Bakhmut “until it is reasonable”, not ruling out the possibility of a retreat of the defensive lines located in the western part of the city.
The information provided by the Ukrainian President has not yet been accompanied by independent sources.
The city of Bakhmut, which was called Artemivsk or Artyomovsk between 1924 and 2016, is located in eastern Ukraine on the Bakhmutka River.
It is a strategic point because it is connected by road with the two largest cities in Donetsk: Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, which are under Kiev’s control.