The Wagner Group announced that its units had taken control of the Nikolayevka residential area, about 20 km from the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.
“During the course of the fighting, units of the Wagner group took control of the Nikolayevka residential area,” Russia’s Wagner private security group announced on February 2, and published pictures of military contractors. holding a flag in front of a house here. The West considers Wagner military contractors to be Russian mercenaries.
Igor Kimakovsky, an adviser to the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) appointed by Russia, assessed the control of the Nikolayevka residential area as positive in the context of Russia closing the siege of Bakhmut. “Liberating this residential area brings the success of the operation to encircle Bakhmut closer,” Kimakovsky said.
Ukraine has not commented on the information from Russian forces.
The city of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk Oblast and located about 20 km south of the residential area of Nikolayevka, is the site of fierce fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Bakhmut is an important transport hub supplying Ukrainian forces in the Donbass region.
After months of unsuccessful attempts to control Bakhmut, Russia recently launched major offensives against the city where Ukrainian forces are entrenched. Ukrainian officials acknowledged that the situation in the Donbass region, including the Donetsk region, was increasingly difficult as Russia “clearly increased the intensity of its offensive”.
Russian militia colonel in Lugansk Vitaly Kiselev on February 1 said that the country’s forces are closing their pincers around Bakhmut. The units of the Wagner group took on combat duty around Bakhmut and did not rush to attack the inner city, while the Russian artillery and air force “precise raids on the enemy’s position”.
According to Colonel Kiselev, the field commanders and military leaders of Ukraine are trying to convince President Volodymyr Zelensky to order the withdrawal of forces from Bakhmut. He said Ukraine can withdraw the main force at a time and leave the territorial defense units with no combat experience.
Nguyen Tien (Theo TASS, RIA Novosti)