The Russian mercenary group Wagner announced that they would withdraw slowly to hand Bakhmut over to the Russian army. Mikhail Podolyak, advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, also stated that action was being taken to expel Russia from Ukrainian territory and said, "There are intense clashes on the 1500-kilometer border, actions have already begun."
"This is not an action that will start on a certain day, at a certain time. These are counterattacks to repel Russian forces, which were carried out yesterday and today and will continue tomorrow."
Poldoyak's statement came on the heels of a confessional statement by Wagner's leader Yevgeniy Prigojin.
Prigojin had announced that they had captured Bakhmut and would hand the city over to the Russian army by June 1. Prigojin, who announced that they had lost more than 20,000 casualties in Bakhmut, where clashes had been going on for months, stated that Russia's goal of disarming Ukraine had ended to its detriment and that the Ukrainian army had become stronger with the arms supplies and training of Western countries.
Wagner's founder Prigojin had previously targeted senior Russian military officials, criticizing Russia for not supporting his troops and threatening to withdraw his troops from the city if they were not provided with much-needed ammunition.
Prigojin claimed today that his troops had withdrawn from Bakhmut. However, Ukraine announced that Wagner had been replaced by Russian troops.
On the other hand, Russia wants to stay in this region, which has no strategic value, because the Kremlin needs a symbolic victory.