(CNN) Russian private military group Wagner “Full control” took control of the Azum metallurgical plant in the northern city of Bakhmut, according to a video broadcast by Russian state media and verified by CNN.
Wagner has complete control over the lands of Azum, Artemievsk [Bakhmut] A RIA Novosti correspondent said in a video clip in which he captured Wagner fighters throughout the factory, “a non-ferrous metal processing plant.”
CNN cannot independently verify RIA’s claim and has contacted Ukrainian Ministry of Defense For comment but has not yet received a response.
Bakhmut became a focal point of the Russian conquest, with Moscow pressing hard for control of the city after failing to make significant gains elsewhere.
The exact status of the battle for the city is unclear, but if confirmed, Wagner’s claims would indicate that Russia has made gains despite positive signals from Ukraine this week.
One of Kiev’s top generals said on Thursday that so are Russian forces drained in Bakhmut A Ukrainian counterattack could be launched soon.
Oleksandr Sersky, the commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, said on his Telegram channel:[Russians] They lose great powers [in Bakhmut] And they run out of energy.”
“Very soon, we will seize this opportunity,” he said.
A counterattack seemed an unlikely possibility for several weeks, as forces from Russia’s Wagner mercenary group bombarded Bakhmut and came close to capturing the city.
But that effort has come at a significant cost in manpower and resources, and now appears to have slowed.
Russian forces have made increasing gains across the city, but Ukrainian forces have not yet retreated, leading to a protracted battle recall confrontation for other eastern cities such as Severodontsk over the past year.
The city is located to the northeast of the Donetsk region, about 13 miles from the Luhansk region, and has been a target for Russian forces for months.
Since last summer, the city has been a stone’s throw from the front lines, so its capture would be a long-awaited success for Moscow’s forces – and would bring some limited strategic value.
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