Feb 25 (Reuters) – Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said forces of his Wagner group had captured the village of Yahidne, just north of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine on Saturday.
Reuters could not independently confirm the claim, which Prigozhin made in a short audio message.
“At 1900 on 25th February, storm units of the Wagner private military company secured complete control of the locality of Yagodnoye (Yahidne) to the north of Bakhmut,” Prigozhin said in the clip.
A day earlier, he said Wagner had taken control of Berkhivka, another village on the outskirts of Bakhmut.
The months-long struggle for Bakhmut has seen some of the bloodiest attritional fighting of Russia’s year-old invasion of Ukraine. Wagner units have suffered heavy losses, prompting Prigozhin to complain bitterly that the Russian defence establishment has failed to properly acknowledge their contribution.
This week he even accused the army top brass of treason for failing to supply his men with sufficient ammunition, though he later said the situation had been remedied.
(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan and Ron PopeskiEditing by Frances Kerry)