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23 Jun, 2023 23:25

Ukraine attempting to retake Artyomovsk after Prigozhin ‘provocation’ – MOD

Kiev is concentrating troops for an offensive, the Russian ministry claims
Ukraine attempting to retake Artyomovsk after Prigozhin ‘provocation’ – MOD

Kiev is concentrating troops in an attempt to retake the key Donbass city of Artyomovsk, known as Bakhmut in Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense has announced.

According to the ministry, Ukrainian units are “taking advantage of [Wagner chief Evgeny] Prigozhin’s provocation aimed at disorganizing the situation.”

“Servicemen from the Southern group are suppressing the enemy with artillery and aviation strikes,” the statement added.

On Friday, the ministry rejected the claim made by PMC Wagner head Evgeny Prigozhin about a rocket strike on one of the company’s bases from Russian territory.

“All messages and video distributed on social networks on behalf of Prigozhin about the alleged strike by the [Russian military] on the camps of PMC Wagner in the rear areas do not correspond to reality and are an informational provocation,” the ministry said in a statement.

Following Prigozhin’s statement, the Federal Security Service (FSB) opened a criminal investigation into his call for an armed rebellion.

On May 20, Prigozhin announced that the operation to take control of Artyomovsk, which had been spearheaded by Wagner, had ended and that the city had been “fully captured.” The battle for the major logistics hub had been fought for 224 days, he added.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed later the same day that the city had been taken, with President Vladimir Putin congratulating Wagner servicemen and regular Russian military troops on their success.