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Live blog: Wagner founder says Russian forces take key Ukraine village

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia’s Wagner Group, has said that the mercenary force had taken the village of Krasna Hora on the northern edge of the embattled Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

Bakhmut, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, has been the scene of brutal warfare for months.

Kiev’s top military commander, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said on Saturday that Ukraine continues to hold Bakhmut, trying to “stabilise” the frontline around it.

In an a udio message published by his press service on the messaging app Telegram, Prigozhin said: “Today the settlement of Krasna Hora was taken by the assault troops of the Wagner private military company”.

Prigozhin also published a short video, apparently showing Wagner fighters at the entrance sign to Krasna Hora, which had a pre-war population of 600.

Reuters could not independently verify that the village had been taken.

Here are some other developments:

1030 GMT — Russia continues to shell Ukraine amid grinding push in east

Russian forces over the weekend have continued to shell Ukrainian cities amid a grinding push to seize more land in the east of the country, with Ukrainian officials saying that Moscow is having trouble launching its much-anticipated large-scale offensive there.

One person was killed and one more was wounded on Sunday morning by the shelling of Nikopol, a city in the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, Governor Serhii Lysak reported. 

The shelling damaged four residential buildings, a vocational school and a water treatment facility.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, one person was wounded after three Russian S-300 missiles hit infrastructure facilities overnight, regional Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.

The attacks come as Russian forces push to take over more land in the eastern industrial heartland of Donbass, comprised of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

0504 GMT — Ukraine, US defence heads talk “priorities” 

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov discussed “priorities”, including air defence and artillery, for upcoming meetings of Kiev’s allies in Brussels, both sides said late on Saturday.

After securing a promise of scores of modern battle tanks, including the US M1 Abrams, German Leopard 2 and British Challenger 2, President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Kiev officials have been urging allies to send fighter aircraft.

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group will meet on Tuesday at the NATO headquarters, following upon a January 20 conference at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany that was key for the decisions to send tanks.

2311 GMT — Fighting rages in Ukraine’s east

Ukraine’s forces hold
defence along the frontline in Donetsk, including the
besieged town of Bakhmut, with the fiercest battles raging for
the cities of Vuhledar and Maryinka, Kiev’s top military
commander said.

“Fierce fighting continues in the area of Vuhledar and
Maryinka,” Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said in a Telegram message after a call
with US General Mark Milley.

“We reliably hold the defence. In some areas of the front we
have managed to regain previously lost positions and gained a

Zaluzhnyi did not specify where the gains were. 

The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group said on Saturday
that his forces are facing fierce resistance around Bakhmut from
Ukrainian defenders.

For live updates from Saturday (February 11), click here

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