President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Sunday has promised to bestow state awards on the Wagner mercenary force and the Russian army for what he called the “liberation” of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which Russia calls by its Soviet-era name of Artyomovsk.
Vladimir Putin made the statement via Kremlin website according to International media, hours after Ukraine President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed the claim that Russia is in full control of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
Russian mercenary chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin had on Saturday released footage of his Wagner group fighters posing with Russian and Wagner flags in various locations in Bakhmut, after he issued video press statement that they had completed the capture of the eastern Ukrainian city.
President Vladimir Putin on Sunday said that the battle – the longest and bloodiest of the 15-month war – had ended in a Russian victory, and that all those who had excelled in it on Moscow’s side would be given state awards.
“The Head of State congratulated Wagner’s assault groups, as well as all members of the units of the Russian Armed Forces who provided them with the necessary support and cover on their flanks, on the completion of the operation to liberate Artyomovsk (Bakhmut),” the statement said.
“All those who distinguished themselves will be presented with state awards,” it said.