The head of the Russian private military company Wagner broadcast a video message from inside the city of Bakhmut, in front of a tank monument in the eastern part of the city.
Yevgeny Prigozhin dismissed Ukrainian claims that Wagner was suffering heavy losses in the fight for Bakhmut and was close to finishing as a fighting force.
“We will conquer this border with dignity,” he said.
“THE [Russian] The Minister of Defense told you that after capturing Bakhmut, the operational space will open. And the world has not yet faced the Russian army, which is well prepared, with these units which have not yet entered the battle, with all possible modern weapons, intelligence, ideally prepared”, a- he added.
“They are biding their time. Right after PMC Wagner opens the operational space after Bakhmut. Then the whole world will tremble.”
Prigozhin also appealed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The only request – to withdraw the elderly, children. And (send) normal combat-ready units here.”
“We have to take care of you here now,” he said.
A bit of context: Prigozhin shared an audio clip on Telegram earlier on Wednesday, saying the eastern part of the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut is now under Wagner’s control. CNN cannot independently confirm Prigozhin’s claim. Although the Ukrainian military did not respond to its claims, it said Russian attacks in the Bakhmut region were continuing, but described them as unsuccessful and resulting in heavy casualties.