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Russia’s War in Ukraine: Live Updates

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11:36 a.m. ET, April 11, 2023

Ukraine denies Wagner’s founder’s claim that Russia controls 80% of Bakhmut

By Vasko Kotoviu and Olga Vojtović on CNN

Wagner founder and financier Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed on Tuesday that Russian forces now control much of the embattled city in eastern Ukraine. Bakhmut.

We are fully focused on Bakhmut and continue to carry out combat missions. In Bakhmut, the largest part – that is, more than 80% – is under our control, including the entire administrative center, factories, factories, and the city administration. “What remains is part of the multi-storey residential areas, where the fortification areas have been established. Under these tall buildings are tunnels. »

Ukrainian officials denied Prigozhin’s claim.

Serhiy Chervaty, spokesman for the Eastern Grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, told CNN on Tuesday: “Prigozhin’s statement is incorrect. I was in contact with the commander of one of the brigades defending the city. I can say with confidence that the Ukrainian Defense Forces control a much larger part of the region.” Bakhmut.”

Chervaty added: “Prigozhin has to show at least one victory in the city, which they have been trying to achieve for nine months in a row, so he makes these statements.”

The founder of Wagner is known to have made false statements about the advance of his forces on the ground in Ukraine. And last week, he posted a suspicious video of a flag being raised at dawn, saying Bakhmut had been “taken” despite the fighting in and around the city. Western officials said his request was seen as an “extremely desperate” attempt.

What Western officials say: The officials acknowledged that Russia had managed to make progress in Bakhmut, but added that it could be “measured in metres.”

The Russians at the moment, although they have been trying for six months, with a large number of personnel and a large number of casualties, have not been able to take the city and have now succeeded in slow progress as officials said during a briefing last Wednesday.

Prigozhin said in a video on Tuesday that Wagner fighters had ceded control of some areas around Bakhmut to the Russian army.

We handed the wings over to the Department of Defense. Units of the Ministry of Defense, including the Airborne Forces, dominated the right and left flanks today. That is why Zaliznyanskoye, Nikolaevka and other settlements, which were stormed by Wagner PMC units in the previous months, are the responsibility of the Airborne Forces and other units of the Ministry of Defense. »

CNN’s Max Foster contributed to this post.

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