The Wagner Group founder, Yevgeny Prighozin, has reportedly started pulling his forces out of the Ukrainian city Bakhmut where intensive fighting has taken place for months. In a video published at 9.46am (Ukraine time), the brutal leader said he was transferring Wagner positions to the regular Russian military.
In the video in his Telegram group, the Press service of Prigozhin, he said: “We are withdrawing the units from Bakhmut. From today at five in the morning, May 25 until June 1, most of the units will rebase to camps in the rear. We are handing our positions to the military.”
He said his men will “receive new combat missions” in the future.
However, in his last video, he said that “if the military faces hardships,” the Wagner mercenaries who were instrumental in the alleged capture of Bakhmut may stay in the city.
The leader proclaimed the capture of Bakhmut on Saturday following an intense nine months of fighting.
Russian media had reported that Russian units reached various parts of the western borders of the city.
Prighozin shamefully admitted himself that his PMC (Private Military Contractor) group has lost 20,000 fighters in the notorious battle, more than 20 per cent of its force.
He shared the losses as part of an attack on Kremlin commanders.
Half of the losses are said to be convicted murderers and rapists taken from Russian prisons to fight in Ukraine.
The figure stated by Prighozin contrasts with Moscow’s claim that only 6,000 of its troops had been killed in the war as of January.
If true, the 20,000 death toll, suffered in just 10 months, exceeds the official Soviet losses sustained during a decade of war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.
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