The Wagner private mercenary group, linked to the Kremlin, seems to have already taken over the gigantic AZOM metallurgical complex in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has been besieged by these assault troops for more than six months, according to experts who follow the development of the war. .

The metallurgical facilities and their tunnels have served as a trench for Ukrainian soldiers to defend themselves against the Russian offensive that has almost completely destroyed the city.

As reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the forces of the Wagner Group continue to make advances inside the city.

This Washington-based think tank said Russian “milbloggers,” bloggers dedicated to covering war news, said Tuesday that Wagner’s fighters have captured the AZOM complex and are working to clear the area of ​​Ukrainian forces. that remain in the area. “These claims are relatively consistent” when taking into account the available visual evidence of a Russian presence at the AZOM complex, the ISW said.

“Geolocated images published on March 26 show a military correspondent for the Russian outlet RIA Novosti moving through the complex’s territory with apparent ease, indicating that Wagner likely controls enough land at the plant to house journalists in relative safety. “, indicated the report of the group of American experts.

Several Russian “milbloggers” also claimed on March 28 that Wagner’s fighters advanced into the city center, seized control of the market and reached the Palace of Culture. And “these statements – he added – are also plausible considering the geolocated visual evidence of Wagner’s advances towards the city center published on March 28, as well as the images of the Ukrainian infantry fighting (…) with the Russian forces near the Palace of Culture and the central market area in the center of Bakhmut.”

Wagner is likely working to consolidate “the Bakhmut gains in the north and center, to push into the heart of the city and extend his zone of control to the west,” ISW said.

The group of experts assessed that Russian forces have advanced an additional 5% in that geostrategic Ukrainian city in the last seven days and that they currently occupy approximately 65 percent of the total city.

The city of Bakhmut, in the eastern Donetsk region, has become a geostrategic target for Moscow and Kiev, whose troops have been waging a war of attrition in the area for months that analysts say has caused heavy losses. human and material.

Moscow has sent its best strike force, Wagner’s mercenaries, a paramilitary group led by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, close to President Vladimir Putin, to this front.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project