The head of Russia’s paramilitary Wagner group said on Sunday that his troops had taken the Ukrainian town of Krasna Hora, a few kilometres north of Bakhmut, a key city that Moscow has been trying to conquer for several months.
“Today, Wagner’s assault units took the locality of Krasna Hora”, Yevgeny Prigozhin was quoted as saying by his press service.
For more than six months, Wagner and the Russian army have been trying to capture Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, a town of limited strategic importance but which has gained great symbolic significance because of the long duration of the fighting.
Russian forces have been trying to encircle the city for the past few weeks. They have managed to cut off several roads that are vital for the supply of Ukrainian troops.
However, there appears to be increasing tensions between the paramilitary group and Moscow’s regular forces.
The Wagner group announced on 11 January that it had taken Soledar, a larger town not far from Krasna Hora.
But the Russian defence ministry took two days to announce the capture of Soledar, suggesting a level of discord between Wagner and the regular Russian army.