The Russian Armed Forces have gained full control over the city of Bakhmut, also known as Artyomvsk, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group private military company, said Saturday.

Prigozhin announced the affair in a video in which he appeared in combat fatigues in front of a line of Russian fighters sporting flags and Wagner banners.

“Today, at 12 noon, Bakhmut was completely taken,” Prigozhin proclaimed. “We completely took the whole city, from house to house.”

Ukraine is yet to make a comment on the matter.

This comes after media reports said Prigozhin was prepared to share data regarding the position of Russian troops with Ukraine, which Russia dismissed as fake news.

 

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that US intelligence documents said Prigozhin offered Ukraine in late January to share sensitive information about the Russian military, such as the positions of Russian troops, in exchange for Kyiv pulling its troops out of the area around the city of Bakhmut.

Prigozhin said in a Telegram video that his forces would leave Bakhmut City in Donbas on May 10. He said that this is because his units have been losing a lot of soldiers because they don’t have enough artillery ammunition, so they will go back to the camps in the back to “lick their wounds.”

Bakhmut, which is north of Donetsk, is an important strategic point in the war. For a long time, the city was the way that food and supplies got to the Ukrainian troops in Donbas.

Also, reports from earlier this month said that Prigozhin had asked Moscow to let him give the posts of his forces in Bakhmut to the Akhmat battalion, which Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov leads.

The Chechen leader said that if Wagner leaves Bakhmut, the “[Russian] General Staff will lose an experienced combat unit,” but the Akhmat battalion is ready to replace the paramilitary group and “advance and take the city.”