Russia Ukraine War: Wagner claims capture of Bakhmut town hall

Russia's Wagnerian mercenary group claimed they had captured the town hall in Bakhmut, but Ukraine said its troops still had the town in their hands

Ukraine updates: Wagner claims capture of Bakhmut town hall
Ukraine updates: Wagner claims capture of Bakhmut town hall
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DW

Russia's Wagner mercenary group on Monday claimed it had captured the town hall in the Ukrainian eastern town of Bakhmut, giving it "legal" control, but Ukraine said its forces still held the town.

Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin posted a video on his Telegram channel showing him holding a Russian flag, which he said his forces would plant on Bakhmut's town hall.

"This is the Wagner private military company, these are the guys who took Bakhmut. In a legal sense, it's ours," Prigozhin said.

However, Ukrainian military leaders said after Prigozhin's video was released that enemy troops had tried to take control of the town, but their forces had "repelled more than 20 enemy attacks."

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier on Sunday praised Ukrainian troops' defense of the city, much of which now lies in ruins.

"I am grateful to our warriors who are fighting near Avdiivka, Maryinka, near Bakhmut... Especially Bakhmut! It's especially hot there today!" Zelenskyy said.

The Russian army, supported by the Wagner group, has pressed hard to surround Bakhmut hoping to claim a battlefield victory after the string of humiliating reversals.

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Monday, April 3:

Russian investigators say suspect in war blogger killing detained

Russia's Investigative Committee said that Darya T., a suspect in the killing of war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, had been detained.

Vladlen Tatarsky, whose real name was Maxim Fomin, was killed in a bomb blast at a cafe in St Petersburg on Sunday.

Earlier, a woman called Darya T. was identified by some Russian media as a suspect online, and Russia's interior ministry put her put on its wanted list.

Fomin, who had 560,000 followers on the messaging app Telegram, was one of the most prominent of Russia's war bloggers.

Habeck arrives in Kyiv on surprise visit

German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck arrived in Kyiv for political talks on a surprise visit.

Habeck said the aim of the talks was to "give Ukraine hope" that the country will be rebuilt after the war. The talks will reportedly focus on cooperation to redevelop Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Habeck, who is also Germany's economy minister, said investment decisions had either already been made, or were due to be made.

He was accompanied by a small business delegation including Siegfried Russwurm, president of the Federation of German Industries.

It is Habeck's first visit to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, 2022.

Zelenskyy to visit Warsaw on Wednesday

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is to make an official visit to Warsaw on Wednesday, said Poland, announcing a trip.

"This is an official visit, but there will also be an element of a public nature," the head of the international policy office, Marcin Przydacz, told Polish radio station RMF FM, noting that Zelenskyy will also meet with Ukrainians living in Poland.

It would be Zelenskyy's third trip abroad since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. In December, he visited Washington. In early February, the Ukrainian president held talks in London and Paris before traveling on to a special EU summit in Brussels.

Council of Europe and UNSECO chiefs visit Ukraine

Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Buric met in Kyiv with First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar.

Dzheppar said that she thanked for Council of Europe's initiative to establish the Registry of Damages caused by Russian aggression. "We discussed further steps needed to restore justice and hold Russian war criminals accountable," she wrote on Twitter.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay is also visiting Ukraine. Dzheppar called her visit "a huge sign of support for our efforts to protect and restore spheres of culture, education, science, youth, sport and media in Ukraine."

dh/rc (Reuters, dpa, AFP, AP)

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