To Nick Starkofffor Reuters
The captain of Wagner’s mercenary unit says that his unit has “formally captured the city” with a Russian flag over the administration building of Bahmut.
Meanwhile, a Russian commission of inquiry says Daria Trepova, the suspect in the murder of war blogger Vladren Tatarsky in today’s St. Petersburg bomb blast, has been taken into custody.
The Ukrainian military said its troops were still fighting in the abandoned streets.
Bahmut was one of the bloodiest battles of the war, now in its second year, with many of the eastern cities destroyed by artillery fire.
Wagner’s chief of staff Evgeny Prigozhin said his troops spearheading the operation to besiege and occupy the Kremlin Bakhmut hoisted the Russian flag over the administration building in the city centre. However, he admitted that Ukrainian forces still held positions in the western suburbs.
“From a legal point of view, Bakhmut has been taken. The enemy is concentrated in the West,” he said in a video posted to Telegram on Sunday (local time).
However, the Ukrainian military said on Monday that fighting continued in Bakhmut and several other towns.
“The enemy continues to attack the city of Bahmut, but our garrison bravely defends the city,” the military said.
Serhiy Brachuk, a spokesman for the Odessa military government, also disparaged Prigozhin’s allegations.
“Does the Ukrainian flag on a building in Moscow mean that Moscow is occupied?” he said in a telegram. “And we Ukrainians are in the western part of the city.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the soldiers fighting in Bakhmut, Avdiuka and Marinka in a video address Sunday night.
“Especially Bakmut. It’s especially hot there,” he said.
Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said the fighting had engulfed the center of Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces repelled 25 enemy attacks on him, but Russian forces captured his AZOM metal factory, he said.
“The enemy is attacking the city center from the north, east and south, trying to take the city completely under their control,” Zhdanov said in a YouTube video.
Reuters was unable to confirm the battlefield report.
Bakhmut, a mining city and logistics center on the edge of Russian-controlled Donetsk Oblast, had a population of 70,000 before Moscow invaded Ukraine last February.
A Ukrainian military commander says his own counterattack, backed by newly delivered Western tanks and other hardware, is not far off, but stresses the importance of holding on to Bahmut in the meantime. There is
Russia has called its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” and says Kiev’s ties to the West have posed a security threat since the US-backed coup in 2014.
Blogger bombing suspect arrested
Meanwhile, the number of people injured in the blast that killed a prominent Russian military blogger in St. Petersburg on Sunday has risen to 32 from a previously reported 25, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.
Citing a health ministry statement, the RIA reported on Monday that 10 people were in serious condition.
Vladren Tatarsky was murdered in a cafe in St. Petersburg. This is believed to be his second assassination inside Russia of a media person linked to the war in Ukraine.
Daria Trepova, suspect in the murder of war blogger Vladren Tatarsky, has been detained today in a St. Petersburg bomb blast, a Russian commission of inquiry has announced.
The blogger was reported to have received a gift from a woman at a livestream event he was hosting at a cafe shortly before the explosion that killed him.
Nuclear Weapons Moved to Western Belarus
Moscow’s ambassador to Minsk said on Sunday that Russia would move nuclear weapons closer to Belarus’ western border.
Ambassador Boris Gryzlov told Belarusian state television that weapons “increase the chances of ensuring security”.
“This will be done despite the commotion in Europe and the United States.”
Amid warnings to the West to arm Ukraine, Russian officials have increasingly emphasized the danger of nuclear weapons being used in war, saying last month that they would deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/487274/wagner-boss-says-bakhmut-captured-suspect-in-war-blogger-s-death-detained Wagner boss says Bahmut was captured, suspect in war blogger’s death taken into custody