Wagner chief claims Russia lost 5 square kilometers near Bakhmut on Friday

Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner chief

© APA | Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner chief

# 12 May 2023 18:30 (UTC +04:00)

The head of the private military group Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin sharply criticized Russia’s Ministry of Defense over what he describes as the deteriorating position for Russian forces in Bakhmut, APA reports citing CNN.

This comes after the Russian ministry acknowledged its forces pulled back from areas north of the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut, claiming they moved to more advantageous defensive positions.

This statement “to put it mildly, was cunning,” Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said, adding that the Russian ministry needs to "stop lying immediately.”

Prigozhin described the regrouping as “a non-tactical retreat," and claimed, "there was simply a flight of units of the Ministry of Defense from the flanks, therefore, an exit to the Berkhivka reservoir," which lies immediately northwest of Bakhmut.

Altogether, this retreat accounts for the loss of five square kilometers (nearly two square miles) "today alone," he claimed.

Ukraine will "be at a distance of 500 meters from Bakhmut, occupying all tactical heights,” Prigozhin claimed. He also noted that Ukrainian forces have "completely liberated" the hotly contested road from Chasiv Yar to Bakhmut, which is a key route for Kyiv's efforts to resupply its forces in Bakhmut.

The Wagner boss also reiterated his prior complaints about the lack of support from the defense ministry.