“The Wagnerites are gone.” The Ukrainians near Bakhmut confirm the withdrawal of the mercenaries, but fear a dirty trick

It seems that Yevgeny Prigozhin keeps his word and withdraws Wagner’s mercenaries from Bakhmut, who are replaced by units of the Ministry of National Defense. Several Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline confirmed to The Washington Post that they are seeing a shift in units along that frontline. However, they do not lose their vigilance, believing that it may be a trap.

“The Wagnerites left and regular units took their place,” the unit commander of the 24th separate assault battalion, located in Konstantynówka, about 20 km from Bachmut, told the newspaper. According to him, the Wagnerians “sat in bunkers and did not stick out”, “and the Russians [солдаты] – they are young, fresh, novices and easily go out into the open, falling under the fire of his howitzer.

The drone operator confirms:

The fight with regular units is not as difficult as with Wagner.

According to him, the mercenaries behaved unusually, and it was not easy for the Ukrainian army to deal with them.

Prigozhin announced on 20 May that his PMC had completely captured Bakhmut (where the fighting lasted 10 months), reaching the western periphery. He then said that the Wagner fighters would leave the city for a rest from May 25 to June 1 and hand over the positions to MoD units. On May 25, Prigozhin confirmed that his fighters had begun to leave Bakhmut.

At the same time, Ukrainian units are trying to encircle the city from the north and south. The company commander showed WaPo reporters on a map how his troops had advanced 1.5 km on the southern flank over the past week. According to him, they are now defending their positions, and Prigozhin’s mercenaries no longer confront them: “There are no Wagnerites in my direction. They’re not here”.

Counterattacks and offensives by Ukrainian units do not allow Russian troops to regroup and prepare to repel the Ukrainian offensive in other, strategically important regions – they must hold Bakhmut.

But the drone operator warns: “Knowing that Wagner is not playing fair, I will not believe them until we see what the prisoners say. [российские] According to the commander of the 24th Battalion, the Wagnerians were already pretending to leave some area, while they themselves were hiding, waiting for the arrival of Ukrainian soldiers. “There were dead bodies around them, abandoned weapons. It seemed that the position had been abandoned. But when you get closer crawl out of the hole and shoot you in the back,” he said, comparing such tactics to the actions of Vietnamese guerrillas against American troops.

Prigogine himself also warned that he could continue to help the army: “If it is difficult for the army, we will leave those who played a major role in the capture of Bakhmut.”

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