Yevhen Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner PMC, has announced that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have seized part of the Berkhovka settlement near Bakhmut, in the Donetsk Region.

According to him, Russian troops have started to leave the area, he said in a recording published by his press service on June 5.

“Now part of the settlement of Berkhovka has already been lost, the troops [Russian army] are dragging away quietly. The shame!” Prigozhin said.

He stressed that during the regrouping and deployment of the Russian military along the Berkhovka reservoir, the Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu promised to protect the Berkhovka settlement, as this position was important and strategically advantageous. 

Prigozhin appealed to Shoigu and the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, Valeriy Gerasimov, to visit the front. 

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“Shoigu, Gerasimov, I urge you, come to the front, raise the army with guns to go forward. Come on; you can do it! And if you can't, you will die as heroes,” Prigozhin said.

On Sunday, June 4, Prigozhin claimed that the Russian military, on its commanders' orders, opened fire on the mercenaries of the Wagner PMC who were leaving their positions near Bakhmut.

The next day, 5 June the mercenaries of the Wagner PMC had captured Russian officer Roman Vinivitin, commander of the Russian Armed Forces' 72nd Brigade.

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According to Prigozhin, he took Vinivitin as a “prisoner of war” because he had ordered his soldiers to open fire on the Wagner fighters while “intoxicated by alcohol.”

The developments around Bakhmut come as Russia claimed it repelled a "large-scale offensive" by Ukrainian forces in Moscow-annexed Donetsk on Sunday, June 4, saying “the enemy… had no success.”

The claims are unverified and Kyiv has yet to comment.

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