Headline RoundupMay 13th, 2023

Prigozhin Confirms Ukrainian Progress in Bakhmut, Kremlin Denies It

AllSides Summary

Ukraine has reportedly launched its anticipated spring counteroffensive in Bakhmut, but factions of Russian forces dispute its progress.

The Details: On Friday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said Ukrainian forces advanced 1.2 miles toward the hotly-contested city in eastern Ukraine. A day earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defense denied that Ukraine had made any advances in response to chatter from Russian military bloggers. Meanwhile, Russia's Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed Russian troops had fled a two square mile area due to the “stupidity” of their commanders, allowing Ukrainian forces to advance.

For Context: The disagreement comes just days after Prigozhin threatened to pull Wagner out of the fight altogether, citing poor management by Kremlin officials that set his mercenaries up for failure. It’s the latest development in what some believe is an internal power struggle between Prigozhin and the Kremlin.

Key Quotes: Russia’s defense ministry reportedly responded to Malyar’s claims, saying they “do not correspond to reality,” and that the “situation in the special military operation zone is under control.” Prigozhin said the “​​Ministry of Defense simply fled from the flanks,” and the Ukrainian forces “Will be at a distance of 500 meters from Bakhmut, occupying all tactical heights."

How The Media Covered It: Sources across the spectrum covered the events similarly. CNN’s (Lean Left bias) coverage analyzed the potential political expendability of Prigozhin and how unusual serial criticisms of the Kremlin are in Putin’s Russia.

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