Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Wagner’s Russian mercenary group, Russia’s most notorious mercenary group, explained on Saturday why he wanted his forces and the regular Russian army to capture the small town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. It has “underground cities” that can accommodate soldiers and tanks, he said.
More than five months of efforts Russia for the takeover of Bakhmut surprised some military analysts. They stated that the heavy losses suffered by the Russian side and the fact that Ukraine built defensive lines to retreat to the city means that even if Russia were to succeed there, it would be a Pyrrhic victory.
The battles for Bakhmut are extremely hard. Ukrainians defend it, and Russians are killed there every day, probably dozens, if not hundreds. Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for the Eastern Group of Forces of the Ukrainian army, said on Saturday that Bahcmut is still under Ukrainian control.
The weapons are supposed to have been stored here for over a hundred years
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner group that takes part in the Battle of Bakhmut, spoke on the same day why the city is such an important goal for them.
‘The icing on the cake is the Soledar and Bakhmut mine system, which is actually a network of underground cities,’ he said. And he emphasized that their acquisition would allow to keep a large group of people and military vehicles at a depth of 80-100 meters.
The head of the Wagner Group, for whom success in the Battle of Bakhmut would improve his standing in the Kremlin, said that stockpiles of weapons had been stored in underground complexes since the First World War.
Prigozhin also listed other advantages of taking Bakhmut. He called the city “a serious logistics center” with unique defensive fortifications.
150 km of tunnels
There are more than 150 km of corridors in the vast salt mines and other surrounding facilities, as well as a huge underground room that even once hosted football matches and classical music concerts.
On Saturday, despite the announcement by the Russians of a ceasefire during the Orthodox Christmas period, artillery shells could be heard on the streets of Bakhmut.
Main photo source: Reuters