The head of Russia’s Wagner Group said Sunday that his forces raised a Russian flag over the city hall in Bakhmut, but the battle is still raging as Ukrainian forces still control some western districts in the Donbas city.
“From a legal point of view, Bakhmut has been taken. The enemy is concentrated in the western parts,” Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a message posted on Telegram, according to Al Jazeera.
Ukrainian military officials said Monday that the fight for Bakhmut continues. “The enemy continues its assault on the city of Bakhmut. However, our defenders courageously hold the city,” a military spokesman said, according to Reuters.
Denis Pushilin, the acting head of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said Monday that there’s no sign Ukrainian forces will withdraw from Bakhmut. “The enemy has not received a corresponding order yet. Accordingly, no escape or planned withdrawal of the Ukrainian regime’s troops from Artyomovsk (Bakhmut) is observed,” he said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
Russian and Ukrainian forces have been locked in battle over Bakhmut since August 2022. Starting in January, Wagner mercenaries and regular Russian forces began making gains in the area and are now close to encircling the small city, which had a pre-war population of about 70,000.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to keep defending the city and continues to send troops into what has become known as the “meat grinder” in Bakhmut. Soldiers speaking to the media have said they’ve been thrown into the fight with little training, support, and ammunition.
Zelensky recently said if he loses Bakhmut, he will be pressured by Ukrainians and other countries to “compromise” with Russia in negotiations to reach a peace deal. The US wants Zelensky to launch a counteroffensive this spring, but it’s unclear if Ukrainian forces are capable of such an assault.
22 thoughts on “Wagner Group Raises Russian Flag Over Bakhmut City Hall”
Flip a coin?…
Gee, why don’t we just invest our own troops in the matter? Wouldn’t that be simpler, body bags of American troops and all that?
yes uncle sam could crank up the conscription/draft even.
that would go over well.
“Starting in January, Wagner mercenaries and regular Russian forces began making gains” – starting in January, Prigozhin complains that the ministry of defense is creating problems for him by undersupplying with the ammunition and by preventing him to recruit among the convicted. Probably, the ministry of defense and Putin don’t see any advantage in capturing Bakhmut as long as it works as an excellent meatgrinder for Ukrainian army. Prigozhin has different ideas, he wants more glory and PR for his Wagner. He insisted repeatedly that only Wagner is active in Bakhmut while the ministry of defense, often while talking about Bakhmut never mentioned Wagner at all. On the other hand, what concerns, at least, the recruitment among the convicts, a lot of people are critical about this practice. Many of former convicts, including murderers, after terminating of 6 months contract with Wagner, got the freedom together with the military experience and represent a certain danger to society. It is remarkable that NATO propaganda, describing Bakhmut as a meatgrinder not for Ukrainian army but for Russian one, actually is helping Russian ministry of defense to destroy Ukrainian military forces. Under influence of NATO propaganda, Ukrainians, like bewitched rats lured by the magic pipe go to their certain death.
The whole thing reminds me of some aUkrainian forces being stuck in a plant in Mariupol. Anyone who lioks at the map can draw conclusion: Russian forces are movinng past Bakhmut on both sides. Clearly they are not facing oposition from Ukraine and were able to move well past it,
How ling will it take for a mop up operstion? Fewcweeks? For as long as Ukrsine is sending troups and arms up that narrow corridor, Russia will tske it. Now,, despite brave talk Ukraine should order withdrawal, and save lives of soldiers. It is just a mater of time for those two wings go further,., Zelenski is gambling with lives.
Let’s hope that Zelensky’s forecast is correct and that Ukraine will negotiate with Russia for a peace deal in the near future.
Yes. Putin knows that certain of the nationalities formerly part of USSR and Warsaw Pact have to have their own independent state. Like Georgia and Serbia before, Ukraine is one. Only the Nazis/NATO are anathema once the war stops.
Ukraine is persisting in thinking about Bakhmut as a new Stalingrad … the decisive place the war turned, etc.
Russia is looking at Bakhmut as a convenient theater to keep taking the edge off Ukraines military … hundreds of soldiers are being lost daily.
So this will probably continue for a while.
If they are looking at as “the new Stalingrad” then they need to look at who they are fighting.
To paraphrase someone..
They know Stalingrad and you ain’t it.
“Compromise”? Oh dear me, how awful would THAT be?
The Germans in the last year of the war were always waging counteroffenses (according to Radio Berlin) on the Eastern Front, too.
Bahkmut is testimony to Zelensky’s utter disregard for the value of human life.
“Bahkmut is testimony to Zelensky’s and Putin’s utter disregard for the value of human life.”
Fixed, no charge.
I don’t need a fix, thanks. Putin is an independent agent. Zelensky is not. He handed his responsibilities – and his conscience – to Biden, with the results we see to this day.
Putin was prepared to discuss a settlement last year – as was Zelensky. Zelensy could have agreed to a cessation of hostilities and negotiations. That was the point where Zelensky had a chance to assert his values toward his people. He passed on that.
If you think Putin is an “independent agent,” that thing you’re doing that you think is thinking isn’t.
Well, you’re always entitled to your opinion, and I welcome your expressing it. But I disagree with you in this case.
Putin is responsible for the decisions he has made. That said, last year, he was ready to discuss the issues set up by Erdoğan and others. What fascinates is that all signs point to Zelensky being similarly predisposed – right up to Johnson’s visit to Kiev. When Zelensky let himself be swayed by the siren song of NATO backing and NATO funding, he – Zelensky – made his moral choice.
I disagree with you because that point in time was a decent chance to avoid a proxy war between the US and Russia. You may disagree, but Russia had two responsibilities: no NATO alliance in Ukraine and no further harassment and worse for the ethnic Russian population in Ukraine.
Currently Ukraine has a policy that precludes negotiations with Russia while Putin is in power. Beyond the fact that this viewpoint screams immaturity, it legally precludes negotiations. The Russian have advanced no such restrictions on ceasefire or settlement talks.
Added: Putin is an independent agent from the standpoint of international norms – that is, as judged by people in similar positions of power. This is obvious – at least to me.
Of course, he is surrounded by people and forces attempting to sway his positions, but this doesn’t change the fact that to people outside Russia, Putin is responsible for decisions taken re Russian actions.
Let me put it a different way:
Putin is as much an “independent agent” as Joe Biden or Volodomyr Zelenskky.
Each of them are in “leadership” positions. Each of them comes under pressure of varying degrees and kinds from their own regime’s ruling class and, in Zelenskyy’s case as a US satrap, from his imperial masters (Putin and Biden are the top agents of their respective empires and don’t answer to an external national master).
And yes, each of them is responsible for decisions made despite those pressures (which, in all three countries, plausibly rise to threats of removal or assassination).
Putin is ruthlessly using violence to achieve aims he considers in Russia’s national interest. He carefully considered the likelihood of being able to achieve these goals, and decided they were worth the blood and treasure to be sacrificed.
Zelensky gives the impression he has made no such calculation or assessment. He’s being thrown about by forces he doesn’t understand and is doing and saying whatever he thinks necessary to keep hold of power. He didn’t plan to cause massive loss of life – but he’s shown no restraint from throwing division after division of his men into the meat grinder with no realistic end game.
Which of the two displays a greater disregard for human life? The one who plans violence, or the one who conducts it without a plan? I think the latter.
I think I said that in my last paragraph 😉 My guess is that the naming of this operation was one attempt to foreclose the pressure that is being placed on him to obliterate Ukraine. At this point, there is no evidence of an invasion per se, but I’m guessing that there are plenty of people who would like to see an all out effort to neuter Ukraine.
Putin obviously failed in his attempt to intimidate Zelensky prior to the move toward Kiev from Belarus, an outcome he was hoping for and nearly got thanks to Turkey. Alas, my government had other plans.
I also believe that people who want someone else than Putin in power really have no idea what that would mean.
TL;DR: I’m exactly as anti-Putin as I am anti-Biden, anti-Zelenskyy, anti-Trudeau, anti-Xi, anti-AMLO, anti-Macron, et al. I despise all regimes and have no great preferences between them. Putin may be the best of a bad prospective lot, and is almost certainly the best of the prospective lot for the job he’s in.
If he’s replaced, the most likely successor would be a nationalist/imperialist “hard-liner” who would double, triple, etc. down on the Ukraine fiasco.
The second most likely successor would be in the case of some kind of revolution or collapse, and Russia as a post-collapse basket case would be dangerous to itself and the world in various respects, including but not limited to the US and China competing to install their chosen satraps.
Putin is generally fairly risk-averse and calculating. He does make mistakes — and invading Ukraine was clearly one of them — but he doesn’t seem to be a madman, and does seem to be fairly successfully walking a balance beam with “crush the country’s morale by admitting I got us into a quagmire” on one side and “get replaced by someone who will f*ck it up even worse than I did” on the other.
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