War in Ukraine: Moscow claims capture of village near Bakhmout

This conquest had already been claimed on Friday, February 17th by the Wagner group, with which the regular army maintains a kind of competition.

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published 2/20/2023 at 2:21 PM, updated 2/20/2023 at 2:37 PM

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announcing the capture of Paraskoviïvka on Monday, February 20. The photo is dated December 21, 2022. Mikhail Kireyev / Sputnik / AFP

Russia said Monday it had “completely” taken control of a site in the immediate vicinity of Bakhmout, a town in eastern Ukraine that Russian forces have been attempting to seize for several months.

“Volunteers from assault detachments, in cooperation with airborne units and the support of artillery units (…) completely liberated the village of Paraskoviïvka,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

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Tensions with Wagner

This village is at the northern entrance to Bakhmout, at the crossroads of two important roads. On Friday, the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, at the forefront of the battle for Bakhmout, had already demanded the capture of Paraskoviïvka. Tensions between the Russian army and Wagner have come to light in recent weeks as they separately demanded the capture of certain locations.

Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigojine has repeatedly criticized the Russian high command, accusing it of being ineffective and not providing it with enough resources to take Bakhmout, which is fiercely defended by Ukrainian forces.

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For more than half a year, the Wagner group and the Russian army have been trying to conquer Bakhmout, a city whose strategic importance is limited, but which has acquired great symbolic importance due to the duration and bitterness of the fighting.

Kiev and Moscow forces suffered heavy casualties there, and many analysts believe Russia would like to capture it before the February 24 one-year anniversary of the start of its offensive against Ukraine. In recent weeks, Russian attacks along the eastern front line appear to have intensified.

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