In the 58th week of the conflict, Russian soldiers led by mercenaries from the Wagner Group took control of Bakhmut’s eastern city centre. Nonetheless, Ukrainian troops continued to fight off the Russian troops, and their commanders claimed that the Russian offensive was now obviously losing steam.
Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers completed their overseas training in preparation for a possible counteroffensive later this month as pro-Russian population evacuated southern occupied regions.
Founder of Wagner Group
On March 31, Wagner group mercenaries advanced into Bakhmut’s centre. They were within 400 metres (1,300 feet) of the town hall, according to geolocated footage.
Geolocated footage shows Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Wagner, raising the Russian flag over the city hall two days later, following an overnight conflict that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described as “especially hot”. “From a legal point of view, Bakhmut has been taken,” Prigozhin said in an audio message.
Also, it was understood that Wagner had gained total control of the AZOM industrial complex.
On April 4, Russian military bloggers stated that Wagner troops had taken control of the Bakhmut-1 railway station.
By stating that “corresponding decisions” will be taken in Bakhmut as the situation developed, Zelenskyy tried to reassure Ukrainians fearful of a recurrence of the Mariupol siege.