Russia's Wagner paramilitary group on Monday claimed it had "in a legal sense" captured the eastern Ukraine town of Bakhmut — the site of the longest battle of Moscow's operation in the country — with its units now in control of city hall.

The Wagner group has supported Russian troops throughout the offensive to surround Bakhmut, the fight for which both sides have invested in heavily, despite analysts' assertions that the city carries little strategic value.

"The commanders of the units that took city hall and the whole center will go and put up this flag," Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin said on his Telegram channel, referencing a Russian flag he is seen holding in a video accompanying the post.