Russia Claims Major Victory After Big Move

( – Russia announced on Saturday it had taken Bakhmut, which would represent the end of the longest and most violent battle of the war if confirmed. Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his troops and the Wagner private army, which analysts believe is the main group behind Bakhmut’s capture and Russia’s victory in this battle.

In a Telegram audio message, Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin told the Kremlin his group would leave the battle zone shortly as it managed to capture the city. He also said Wagner captured “all the territory” and said the group was handing over its position to the Russian Defense Ministry. At the end of his Telegram message, Prigozhin said that his group would officially leave “the conflict zone” on May 25th.

On Sunday, Ukrainian General Oleksandr Syrski said in another Telegram post that Ukraine’s forces were still controlling a part of the city. While he recognized this part was “insignificant,” he said it was more than enough to allow Ukrainian troops to enter Bakhmut in the near future. Syrski also explained that the goal is to advance around the city’s edges and then encircle it to execute an offensive operation and recover it.

Over the last few weeks, the battle for the eastern city has revealed a significant split between the Russian military and Wagner. After all, the group has lost many of its men in the conflict, most of which were convicts from Russian prisons recruited by Prigozhin. In fact, he has even issued audio and video messages denouncing not only the Russian armed forces but also the Kremlin.

According to different military analysts, Bakhmut has no significant strategic value for Russia. However, the Kremlin has repeatedly said that capturing this city would set a turning point toward Russia’s advance into the Donbas industrial region.

The capture of Bakhmut, which was known as Artyomovsk during the Soviet era, represents the first big victory of Russia since the invasion started.

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