Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
💎 Access the Market Tools Trusted by Thousands of Investors Get Started

Russian Wagner mercenaries handing Bakhmut to regular army

Published May 25, 2023 17:16 Updated May 26, 2023 00:25
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters. Founder of Wagner private mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin talks to Wagner fighters in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict in Bakhmut, Ukraine, in this still image taken from video released May 25, 2023. Press service of "Concord"/Handout via REUTERS

By Pavel Polityuk

KYIV (Reuters) -Russia's Wagner private army started handing over its positions in Bakhmut to regular Russian troops on Thursday, five days after declaring full control of the devastated eastern Ukrainian city following the longest and bloodiest battle of the war.

Moscow says capturing Bakhmut opens the way to advances in the eastern industrial region known as the Donbas. Kyiv says the battle drew Russian forces into the city, inflicting high casualties and weakening Moscow's defensive line elsewhere.

Wagner founder Yevgeny Prighozin, who has repeatedly accused Russia's regular military of abandoning ground captured earlier by his men, said Wagner would be ready to return to the city if needed.

"From today at five in the morning, May 25 until June 1, most of the (Wagner) units will rebase to camps in the rear," Prighozin said in a video, wearing battle gear and standing beside a war-damaged residential block. He says 20,000 of his fighters died taking Bakhmut.

Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said in a message on the Telegram app that Wagner had handed over positions on the city's outskirts but "inside the city itself Wagner fighters remain".

Russia moved ahead on Thursday with a plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in its neighbour and close ally Belarus, signing a deal about the storage of the warheads. It would be the Kremlin's first deployment of such bombs outside Russia since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

"The movement of the nuclear weapons has already begun," Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told reporters in Moscow, where he was attending talks with other leaders of ex-Soviet states.

The U.S. State Department denounced the deployment plan, but said Washington had no intention of altering its position on strategic nuclear weapons nor had it seen any signs Russia was preparing to use a nuclear weapon.

"It's the latest example of irresponsible behaviour that we have seen from Russia," U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.


Also on Thursday, Russia signalled that if demands to improve its grain and fertilizer exports are not met then it will not extend beyond July 17 a deal allowing the safe wartime export of the same products from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

It made the same threat and demands in March. Moscow then agreed last week to renew for 60 days the Black Sea export pact - initially brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July with Russia and Ukraine to try to ease a global good crisis aggravated by Moscow's February 2022 invasion.

Some peace initiatives have been proposed, including by Russia's ally China, the Vatican and a group of countries in Africa but there are no signs of actual talks to end the war.

"There is no force that can oblige Ukrainian society and its leaders to talk with the Russians. Not while Russian troops remain here. That just doesn't exist," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's chief of Staff, Andriy Yermak, was quoted as saying on Thursday in an interview with Interfax Ukraine news agency.

Russian forces have taken over parts of Ukrainian territory since the war began and Ukraine is planning a major counteroffensive to retake land, using modern weapons supplied by Western allies and troops freshly trained across Europe, but details are scant.

Russia has built sprawling fortifications in eastern and southern Ukraine in readiness for the counteroffensive. Military analysts said small offensives carried out by Ukrainian forces may be aimed at spreading Russia's troops thinly, creating gaps elsewhere that can be exploited.

In a prisoner swap with Russia, Ukraine received 106 soldiers who had been captured in Bakhmut. Russia confirmed the swap, saying Wagner took part in the exchange, but did not say how many Russians were released.


The United States plans to announce up to $300 million worth of military aid for Ukraine comprised mainly of ammunition, said two official sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The U.S. has pledged more than $35 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the United States and its allies are fighting an expanding proxy war.

Western allies say they want Ukraine to defeat Russian forces on the battlefield but deny Putin's claims that they want to destroy Russia, which they accuse of an unprovoked, imperial land grab in Ukraine.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it imposed sanctions on Wagner's chief in Mali. The group's employees may have been attempting to work through the west African country to acquire equipment such as mines, drones, radar for use in Ukraine, it said.

Russian Wagner mercenaries handing Bakhmut to regular army

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email