Wagner private military company chief Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed his fighters have made further advancements toward the embattled city of Bakhmut, posting a video Saturday in which he claims to be standing about 1.2 kilometers (less than a mile) away from the administrative center of the city.
“That’s about a five-story building where the smoke comes from — the building of the city administration, the administrative center of the city. It’s one kilometer and 200 meters away,” Prigozhin said in the video as he pointed in that direction.
CNN has geolocated the video, and it appears to show the area where Prigozhin said he was at the time.
“This is the place where the Armed Forces of Ukraine will conduct a counteroffensive from the north, it is important for us that the warriors cover our flanks,” he said.
“If the flanks are covered, then everything is in order, if not, then PMC Wagner will be surrounded, along with the Ukrainians who are inside Bakhmut,” he added.
The eastern city, located in Donetsk region, continues to be the site of some of the fiercest fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
What Ukraine says: Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the eastern grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on national television Saturday that over the last 24 hours, more than 20 combat engagements between Ukrainian and Russian forces have taken place within the territory of the city itself.
Cherevatyi also said most of the Russian assault groups consist of Wagner fighters who are reinforced by Russian paratroopers.
According to the UK Defence Ministry, forces fighting for the Russian government have now taken control of most of the eastern part of the city, and the river in the city center now marks the front line. But it added that Ukrainian forces still hold the west of Bakhmut and have made it difficult for Russian-aligned troops to move forward — even turning one strip of open ground into a “killing zone.”