Per Southfront: https://southfront.org/head-of-wagner-pmc-statement-on-capture-of-bakhmut-video-english-subtitles-text/
Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner PMC:
“Today, May 20, 2023, at 12:00 local time, Bakhmut was completely captured. The last section of the city’s development, the so-called multi-story “Airplane” complex, was seized.
The operation to capture Bakhmut lasted 224 days.
“The Bakhmut meat grinder” began on October 8, 2022, to give the embattled Russian army a chance to come to its senses. For 224 days the men stormed that city. The only people here were the Wagner PMCs. There was no, as Konoshenkov said, Airborne troops or anyone else who could help us. We helped ourselves.
The Wagner PMC came voluntarily to this war and began to liberate territories, protecting the interests of our homeland.
I want to say Thank you to the Russian people, who supported us!
Thank you to those guys who died in this war! Both Russian Defense Ministry soldiers and members of the Wagner PMC! Thank you to those who are with us now! Thank you to those who are with us now! Thank you to those who couldn’t continue the contract and to those who will be back to us and fighting shoulder to shoulder with us in the future! Thanks to General Surovikin and General Mezentsev, who gave us the opportunity to conduct this difficult operation! Thank you, Vladimir Putin, for providing us with the opportunity and high honor to defend our homeland!
We fought not only the AFU in Bakhmut, we fought the Russian bureaucracy, which was putting sticks in our wheels.
This is especially true of near-war bureaucrats. Their names are partially known. They are Shoigu and Gerasimov, who turned war into their own entertainment, who decided that their whims in war would be fulfilled. Five times as many soldiers died as they could have because of their whims. And someday in history they will answer for their actions, in Russian, wickedness.
We have prepared lists of those who helped us and those who opposed us, actually helping the enemy in this case.
Today we captured Bakhmut. On May 25, we will begin to withdraw our units for rest and retraining.
We have been at war for 427 days, since March 19, 2022, when our homeland needed our help.
We completely captured the whole city from house to house, so that no one could pedantically reproach us for not taking at least a little bit of it.
By May 25, we will completely inspect the city, create defense lines and hand it over to the Defense Ministry. We, ourselves, will go out to the field camps. Then, when our country, our people, our families need us again, we will come back and defend our people, if necessary.
These guys will now take and set up the flags they have in their hands, the flag of the Wagner PMC and the flag of Russia.”
We’ll let Larry Johnson (former CIA) shares his point of view regarding Wagner: https://sonar21.com/putin-prigozhin-and-the-wagner-group/
Moon of Alabama sum things up: https://www.moonofalabama.org/2023/05/bakhmut-has-fallen-artyomovsk-has-been-liberated-.html
Bakhmut has fallen. Artyomovsk (the Russian/Soviet name of the city) has been liberated. This was announced today by the titular leader of the Wagner forces, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a video posted on Telegram.
Why the Ukrainian leadership had decided to hold onto the city even months after the situation there was already in its disfavor is beyond me. The fight was decided by the numerical superiority of Russian artillery fire and the Ukraine had never a chance to top that.
The losses there for the Ukrainians amounted to 300 to 500 men per day over that last 5 months. That sums up to a total of 60,000 casualties. Ten days ago Ukrainian units, including the fascist Azov brigade, rolled up the Russian flanks north and south of Bakhmut to allow the Ukrainian troops in the city to flee west. That attack alone, only one or 2 kilometer deep, cost them some 1,600+ men and some 50+ armored vehicles.
On the Russian side the fighting in the city was largely done by Wagner troops. But they were never able to do it on their own. Russian military intelligence, artillery and logistics all played an important role in the fight.
The city has been destroyed but it will continued to exist as it is an important logistical hub with several rail and road connections running through it.
Mariupol, which fell/was liberated a year ago, is already being rebuild. In a month or two, when the frontline has moved away from Artyomovsk, rebuilding will start there too.
For a moment now the front line in Ukraine seems all around relative quit.
It is not clear to me when or where a new operational move will start.
I suppose out of respect to both Wagner and the valiant AFU defenders, we should acknowledge the victors with the Bolshoi Children’s Choir