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    Russia unlikely to capture Bakhmut in next two days, Wagner chief admits

    Ukrainian soldiers fire a cannon near Bakhmut, where heavy fighting is taking place with Russian troops Photo: AP/LIBKOS

    Russian troops Unlikely that Bakhmut will be captured in the near future, said the head of the Wagner mercenary group.

    According to Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose mercenaries have been fighting in the eastern city for several months, Ukrainian forces have settled in a makeshift “fortress” in the south of the front-line city , and fighting continues around them.

    In a voice message uploaded to his Telegram channel, Prigozhin said: “Bakhmut has not yet been taken. Bakhmut is unlikely to be taken either tomorrow or the day after.”

    “There is a quarter known as “Airplane” – it's like an impregnable fortress from the bed of high-rise buildings in the southwest of Bakhmut, where incredibly heavy fighting is going on.”

    Hannah Maliar, Ukraine's deputy defense minister, said Russian forces are trying to reclaim lost land around the city, but Kiev forces are repulsing the attacks.

    In TV commentary On Friday, Ms Mallar said: “The enemy is trying to regain what they have lost… but our forces are fighting back.

    In a voice message uploaded to his Telegram channel, Prigozhin said that Bakhmut had not yet been taken. Photo: Prigozhin's press service

    “It is very difficult to carry out combat missions there, and each meter (of advance) is equal to 10 kilometers in other conditions.”

    Ms. Mallyar said that Russia has achieved “ some progress” inside the city, but don't give details of how far they've progressed.

    In a previous report on the situation in Bakhmut on Thursday afternoon, Ms. Malyar wrote on her Telegram channel that Ukrainian forces had advanced 500 meters on the outskirts of the city north of the city, with advances of one kilometer towards the center achieved in some areas. south of the city.

    A Ukrainian soldier fires a mortar during a Russian attack on Bakhmut Photo: Reuters

    She added that Ukrainian forces currently control the southwestern part of Bakhmut.

    Both Ukrainian forces and Wagner forces said on Thursday that Russian forces were retreating around the city and Ukrainian soldiers were at the front line, saying that enemy troops have been shelling access roads to block armored vehicles delivering supplies.

    Bakhmut is seen by Moscow as an important stepping stone in their quest to capture the rest of the Donbass in eastern Ukraine. Before the invasion, the city had about 70,000 inhabitants.

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