Wagner: Wagner will leave Bakhmut by June 1, transferring control to the Russian military

MOSCOW: Leader of Russian mercenary group Wagner said on Monday his fighters would leave Bakhmut before June 1 and hand over control to the Russian army, after claiming to have fully captured the city.
Wagner and the Russian regular army both said Bakhmut fell on them, but kyiv denies this, saying he is clinging to a corner of the city in eastern Ukraine and battles are in progress. course.
“Wagner will leave Artemovsk from May 25 to June 1”, boss of Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin said in an audio recording on Telegram.
Bakhmut was previously known as Artemovsk, after a Soviet revolutionary, before Ukraine renamed it.
Prigozhin said the mercenaries had set up “defense lines” on the western outskirts of the city ahead of a planned handover of control to the Russian military.
“If the Defense Ministry doesn’t have enough personnel, we have thousands of generals,” said Prigozhin, who has been embroiled in an increasingly public spat with Russian military leaders.
Prigozhin launched scathing criticism of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Army Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, accusing them of being incompetent and causing large-scale losses to Moscow in the conflict in Ukraine.
Wagner’s fighters spearheaded the Russian storming of Bakhmut, and Prigozhin’s influence grew enormously during the Ukrainian offensive from Moscow.
On Saturday, he announced that Bakhmut had fallen to his fighters, speaking in a video against the backdrop of a ruined city.
He then declared that Wagner’s fighters would withdraw by May 25.
Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Wagner and the Russian military for the alleged conquest.
But the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the G7 summit on Sunday that Bakhmut was “not occupied” by Russia.


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