Russian state media say it has complete control of the AZOM metallurgical plant, which Ukraine previously attempted to turn into a fortress north of the Bakhmut firepan.
Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency reported that Wagner’s private military forces have taken control of the entire AZOM plant.
“Wagner has taken full control of AZOM, the Artemivsk non-ferrous metal processing plant in Bakhmut,” a RIA Novosti reporter said in a video showing Wagner members moving around the plant.
Ukraine has not yet commented on this information.
For weeks, Ukraine and Russia have been fighting fiercely around the AZOM plant area.
Earlier this month, Western intelligence reported that Ukrainian soldiers were trying to reinforce defensive positions in AZOM, including areas 350m underground to pull Wagner forces here to prolong the war. consume resources and weapons of the opponent.
AZOM, one of the largest non-ferrous metal factories of the former Soviet Union, is fortified against outside attacks.
“The AZOM plant is said to be able to survive even in a nuclear conflict. There is an underground communication system and it has its own water source and generator,” said Ukrrudprom, a news website about metal of Ukraine, reported.
At that time, although it is estimated that gaining complete control of this underground area will not be easy, but Russia does not ignore this goal. AZOM has a network of links with other regions of Bakhmut. So as long as Ukraine is in control of the factory, they will be able to strike back unexpectedly on the position that Russia holds.
In mid-May, the Rossiskaya Gazyeta (RG) newspaper reported that at least 300 Ukrainian soldiers were in the network of tunnels beneath AZOM.
Military website Avia Pro quoted information from member Wagner as saying that there are currently no Ukrainian soldiers left in the underground AZOM area – which is used as a bomb shelter. Russian troops already present and control areas in AZOM.
Also according to the source of Avia Pro , Wagner seems to be about 500m from the center of Bakhmut. Earlier, Wagner had crossed the Bakhmutka River towards the area controlled by Ukraine. Russia controlled most of the routes leading to Bakhmut, making it difficult for Ukraine to move personnel and ammunition, so Kiev groups began to withdraw to the west of Bakhmut, according to the military website.
Bakhmut is currently the fiercest fighting front in Ukraine. Both Russia and Ukraine suffered serious losses because they mobilized resources to fight each other for every meter of land in this pan of fire.
Although Russia has begun to close the siege of Bakhmut from all directions and Wagner claims control of the eastern part of the city, Ukraine has shown its determination not to withdraw its troops from Bakhmut and step up reinforcements to forces on the front lines. Ukraine expects that Bakhmut will act as a zone to drain the life of the best Russian units. However, experts warn that Ukraine may be affected by the counter-attack plan in the near future when it is pouring too many resources and elite troops into Bakhmut.