Moscow/Kyiv: Russian military company Wagner Group has taken control of the eastern part of Bakhmut city in the Donbas region. While making a claim in this regard, Wager Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin warned that they would win this front. A reaction has emerged from Ukraine over Russia’s statements. President Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed concern that Russia’s capture of Bakhmut would clear the path for the Russian Army to Ukraine. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had recently claimed that the capture of Bakhmut would enable Russian troops to advance in Ukraine.
Bakhmut, famous for its salt and gypsum mines, in terms of military planning, is considered a strategically located city. The roads connecting many cities in east Ukraine go through Bakhmut. Therefore, if Bakhmut falls into Russia’s hands, it may make it easier for Russia to attack these cities in eastern Ukraine. Once Bakhmut is captured, Russia can launch attacks on Chesiv Yar, Slovensk and Kromatorsk. As a result, Ukraine may have to lose control of the Donbas region, along with Donetsk. Therefore, the battle of Bakhmut has become a battle of prestige for Russia and Ukraine.
Earlier in August, Russian forces tried to capture Bakhmut. But it was not successful. In the last two months, Russia has been able to capture most of the city, giving priority to Bakhmut. The claim made by the ‘Wager Group’ in this regard is a matter of concern. Prigozin, head of the Wagner Group, confirmed through audio and video messages that East Ukraine was under their control. At the same time, he also warned that the ‘Wager Group’ would take full control of the whole of Bakhmut.
In the wake of Prigozhin’s claim, the Ukrainian president also said in an interview that he would not give up Bakhmut. “Bakhmut is important from the point of view of Ukraine’s warfare tactics,” Zelensky said. After capturing Bakhmut, Russian forces could rapidly advance in eastern Ukraine, which is why our soldiers are not moving away from Bakhmut, Zelensky underscored.
Western analysts, however, claimed that the focus on Bakhmut by Ukraine was unnecessary. US analyst Michael Kofman warned that Ukraine should save its soldiers and military resources for future attacks. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has also said that Bakhmut may fall into the hands of the Russian Army in the next few days. However, he went on to claim that this would not be the defining moment in this war.
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