The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has announced that its forces have started withdrawing from the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
Yevgeny Prigozhin has vowed to transfer control of the city to the Russian army by 1 June, but Kyiv says it still controls pockets of the city.
He said his forces were ready to return if the Russian regular army proved unable to manage the situation.
The battle for the city has been the longest and bloodiest of the war.
There were about 70,000 people living in Bakhmut before the invasion, but only a few thousand remain in the devastated city, once best known for its salt and gypsum mines and huge winery.
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