«The icing on the cake is the mine system»
Wagner boss Prigozhin raves about tunnel systems under Bakhmut
Russians and Ukrainians are currently fighting fiercely over Bakhmut. Wagner boss Prigoschin has now revealed why.
There are fierce battles between Russia and Ukraine over Bakhmut.
Chiara SchlenzEditor News
Russian troops have been struggling with the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut for months – although the strategic role of the city for Russia was not clear to the western and Ukrainian military. Yevgeny Prigozhin (61), the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, now claims on Telegram: The object of desire is not necessarily the city of 74,000 inhabitants itself, but the tunnel system below.
“The icing on the cake is the Soledar and Bakhmut mine system, which is actually a network of underground cities,” Prigozhin said on Saturday, according to Reuters. “It can not only accommodate a large group of people at a depth of 80 to 100 meters – tanks and armored personnel carriers can also move in it.” Weapons are said to have been stored in this tunnel system as early as the First World War.
It is well known that there is a tunnel system of more than 160 kilometers in the region around Bachmut. However, these tunnels belong to mines, including salt and gypsum mines. According to Reuters, US sources said on Thursday that Prigozhin wanted to take control of the region for commercial reasons. There are indications that financial motives drive Russia and Prigozhin’s “obsession” with Bakhmut, Reuters quoted an unnamed official as saying.
However, nothing is known about the military use of these facilities mentioned by Prigozhin.
Russians bite their teeth at the “eastern fortress”.
For more than five months, Russia’s soldiers have been trying fiercely to take the “eastern fortress” of Bakhmut, but the offensive has repeatedly faltered. Prigozhin explained this partial defeat a few weeks ago: “In Bakhmut, every house is a fortress,” said the Wagner boss. His soldiers would fight for every single house. “Sometimes they need more than a day to conquer a house, sometimes they even need weeks.”
The problem lies in the strong defenses of the Ukrainian armed forces. Breaking through their defenses is an enormous challenge. Prigozhin speaks of hundreds of defense lines across the city. “In Bachmut there is definitely a line of defense every ten meters,” says the boss of the mercenary group in the video.
It is unclear how long the fighting in Bakhmut will continue. British military experts believe that a major breakthrough by the Russian military is unlikely in the coming weeks. This emerged from the daily intelligence update from the Ministry of Defense in London on Tuesday. (chs)