Bakhmut Is Taken, Says Russia

Russia’s Wagner paramilitary forces have claimed to have taken control of the embattled city of Bakhmut, also known as Artyomovsk, which is the administrative capital of the Russian-annexed region of Donetsk Oblast. Ukraine has denied the claim and says that the city remains embattled.

Screenshot @ YouTube

Bakhmut ‘Legally Taken’ – Russia

On Sunday night, April 2, Yevgeny Prigorzhin, the Wagner Group chief, released a video on Telegram showing him raising a Russian flag over Bakhmut’s city hall building. The video went viral on social media along with Prigorzhin’s message:

“We hoisted the Russian flag with the inscription “Good memory to Vladlen Tatarsky” and the flag of PMC “Wagner” on the city administration of Bakhmut. Legally Bakhmut is taken”.

Prigorzhin dedicated the landmark moment to Vladlen Tatarsky, the Russian military blogger assassinated earlier on Sunday by bombing at a St. Petersburg cafe by a young woman. Russian authorities have arrested the woman and suspect her of operating on behalf of Ukrainian forces. On Monday (April 3), Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded the Order of Courage to Vladlen Tatarsky posthumously, as reported by Sputnik News.

Ukraine Denies the City’s Capture

Ukraine has rejected the claim by Prigorzhin, the Wagner chief, of taking control of Bakhmut. A Ukrainian military spokesperson told Reuters that Russian forces were far from taking control of Bakhmut.

Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, was cited by NBC News rejecting the Wagner claim as fake news:

“Don’t pay attention on “victory” fake inventors. Not even close to the reality.”

As reported in The Manila Times on Saturday (April 1st), Ukraininain government sources have previously acknowledged that Russia controls 65 percent of Bakhmut while a week ago, Prigozhin claimed to be in control of 70 percent of the city.

Referendum and Annexation

In September 2022, four former Ukrainian regions now under Russian control voted to join Russia: Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR), Kherson, and part of Zaporozhye Region (Southern Ukraine). Since then they have been annexed and formally made part of Russia while Ukraine and its supporting states worldwide have refused to recognize the referendum.

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Ernest Dempsey

Ernest Dempsey is a writer, editor, blogger, and journalist based in Orlando, FL. He runs a popular blog Word Matters! and edits the journal and its blog Recovering the Self. Dempsey is a skeptic, vegetarian, and advocate for animal and human rights.