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The bloody battle for Bakhmut over underground …

The head of the Wagner Group said that Russia’s frantic efforts to capture the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine are aimed at taking control of “underground cities” that can be used as bases for troops and tanks, world media reported.

It has been more than five months since Russia began its attempt to seize Bakhmut, a salt-mining town that Western analysts say has little strategic value. According to Ukrainian officials, the relentless shelling and brutal house-to-house fighting destroyed more than 60 percent of the buildings. Kremlin forces are also trying to capture Soledar, a town nearby.

Last week, the White House said it suspected Yevgeny Prigozhin, linked to the Kremlin as “Putin’s chef who controls the Wagner Group, is trying to take control of the Bakhmut mines for commercial reasons. Wagner’s mercenaries are playing a major role in the battle for the city.

However, Prigozhin argued that the mines in the area would prove vital to the Russian offensive. “The system of mines in Soledar and Bakhmut, which is actually a network of underground cities, can not only hold a large group of people at a depth of 80-100 meters, but also tanks and infantry fighting vehicles that can move there.” he wrote on Telegram over the weekend.

Prigogine, who is known as Putin’s Chef, has in mind a winding labyrinth of caves and salt mines that consists of more than 160 km of tunnels.

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