PMC “Wagner” occupied the eastern part of the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. This was announced on the morning of March 8 by the head of the PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose statement published his press office.
“PMC Wagner’s divisions occupied the entire eastern part of Bakhmut. Everything east of the Bakhmutka River is under the control of the Wagner PMC,” says Prigozhin.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also wrote in its March 7 evening report that Russian troops had “probably” taken control of the part of the city east of Bakhmutka. The ISW notes that this happened after the Armed Forces of Ukraine conducted a controlled withdrawal of troops from eastern Bakhmut on March 7.
The fact that Ukraine may begin to withdraw its troops from Bakhmut, in addition to the ISW, was also reported by Russian telegraph channel Rybar, as well as Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Podolyaka, who supports the Russians. Officially, the Armed Forces of Ukraine claim that there is no mass withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the city. Commenting on the information about the withdrawal of the soldiers, the Armed Forces of Ukraine notes that the fighters “change positions in Bakhmut in controlled planned rotations”.
On the same day, Yan Gagin, an adviser to DPR leader Denis Pushilin, said Russian forces already control “almost half” of Bakhmut.
Heavy fighting for Bakhmut has been going on since the summer of 2022. In the battle for the city from the Russian side, including PMC “Wagner” fighters. In early March, Prigozhin said Bakhmut was “virtually surrounded” and suggested the Ukrainian army leave the city. On March 6, the headquarters of the Supreme Commander of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyyyy, decided to continue the defensive operation in Bakhmut. However, according to the Bild tabloid, disagreements arose between Zelenskyyy and the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valery Zaluzhny over the situation in the city. As reported by the publication, Zaluzhny insisted on leaving the city. At the same time, Zelenskyyy said the Ukrainian military would not hold Bakhmut “at any cost”. The adviser to the Ukrainian president on economic issues, Alexander Rodnyansky, in turn allowed the possibility of a “strategic withdrawal” of Ukrainian troops from Bakhmut if necessary.
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