MOSCOW, May 21. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated assault teams of the Wagner private military company and Russian troops with the liberation of the city of Artyomovsk, the Kremlin’s press office said in a statement on Sunday.
"Vladimir Putin congratulates Wagner assault teams as well as all Russian troops, who rendered the required assistance and shielded the flanks, with the completion of the operation to liberate Artyomovsk," the statement reads.
"Everyone, who distinguished himself in the battle, will be recommended for the state decorations," the statement added.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced earlier in the day that the city of Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut in Ukraine) has been completely liberated in the course of the special military operation in Ukraine.
"In the Artyomovsk tactical direction, the assault teams of the Wagner private military company with the support of artillery and aviation of the southern battlegroup have completed the liberation of the city of Artyomovsk," the ministry stated.
Artyomovsk is located in the north of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and it served as a major transportation hub for the Ukrainian army’s supplies in Donbass. Fierce fighting to liberate the city started on August 1, 2022.
The battle for this city is one of the largest battles during the liberation of Donbass since 2014. Some 72,000 people lived in Artyomovsk before the battle started.
Russia’s special military operation
On February 21, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was recognizing the sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). Russia signed agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with the DPR and LPR leaders. Moscow recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as they existed at the beginning of 2014.
Putin announced on February 24, 2022, that, in response to a request by the heads of the DPR and LPR for assistance, he had decided to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine. The DPR and LPR launched a joint operation to liberate their territories that were under Kiev’s control.
From September 23 to September 27, 2022, the DPR and the LPR as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions held referendums on joining Russia, in which the majority of voters opted to join Russia.
On September 30, 2022, Putin and the heads of the DPR and LPR, and of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions signed treaties on their accession to the Russian Federation. Later, the State Duma (lower house of Russia’s parliament) and the Federation Council (upper house) approved legislation on ratifying these treaties, as well as federal constitutional laws on the accession of the four regions to Russia.