The founder of the Russian private military company “Wagner”, Yevgeny Prigozhin, announced that “Wagner” units still have some capabilities to advance in Artyomovsk (Bakhmut).
Prigozhin said, according to what his media office reported via Telegram, on Friday: “Despite the severe shortage of shells, units of the Russian private military company “Wagner” advanced today up to 170 meters in different directions and took control of 59.5 thousand square meters of the city.”
He added, “The enemy still controls 2.52 square kilometers,” noting that his forces still have the ability to advance in Bakhmut until the end of May 9.
Prigozhin had said earlier that the “Wagner” units would remain in their positions in Artyomovsk until May 9, and then “go out to the rear camps” in order to “heal the wounds” and spare the fighters losses.
On Friday, the head of the Russian Wagner Group held the Russian Army’s Chief of Staff responsible for “tens of thousands of dead and wounded” Russians in Ukraine, in a message directly targeting Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
This comes at a time when the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense warned that Russia is planning, through Wagner fighters, to take control of the city of Bakhmut on May 9, which coincides with Russia’s annual celebration of Victory Day.
Advisor to the Ukrainian Minister of Defense Yuri Sak told Al-Arabiya that the escalation of the dispute between Wagner and the Russian Ministry of Defense is due to its inability to control Bakhmut, pointing out that Wagner and the Russian army suffered heavy losses, and that control of Bakhmut is approaching.
Friday witnessed the continuation of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, as the Russian army is trying to extend control over more Ukrainian regions, while Kiev is trying to resist the Russian forces and restore its lands with military and logistical support from the West.
The Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and a number of cities issued air warnings in anticipation of Russian air attacks, as the number of air alerts increased sharply in recent days. Over the past three days, it has issued six alerts warning of Russian attacks.
For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed, in a meeting with members of the National Security Council, the progress of preparations for the Victory Day celebrations, corresponding to the ninth of May next.
The RIA Novosti agency quoted the Kremlin as saying that the parade will take place this year as planned, despite what it described as Ukraine’s attempt to assassinate the Russian president through the attack on one of the buildings of the Kremlin’s presidential complex.