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The head of the Wagner Group says his forces have started pulling out of Bakhmut and are handing over control to the Russian military.

It comes days after Yevgeny Prigozhin said mercenaries from his private military had captured the city in eastern Ukraine.

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The millionaire and longstanding Vladimir Putin ally said in a video published on Telegram that the handover will be completed by 1 June.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian defence ministry.

It was not possible to verify whether Wagner forces have begun to pull out of the heavily damaged city.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian General Staff said heavy fighting was continuing inside Bakhmut after a nine-month battle, which has killed tens of thousands of people.

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Ukraine’s deputy defence minister said on Thursday that Wagner units have been replaced by regular troops in the suburbs but Wagner fighters remain in the centre of the city.

Ukrainian forces still have a foothold in the southwestern outskirts, Hanna Maliar said.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, says his forces are handing over control of Bakhmut to the Russian military.
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Mr Prigozhin with two of his mercenaries ‘Biber’ and ‘Dolik’

A Wagner victory in Bakhmut would be a much-needed boost for Mr Putin after his invasion lost momentum.

Top Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive is already under way, saying it should not be anticipated as a “single event” starting “at a specific hour of a specific day”.

He said on Twitter that “dozens of different actions to destroy Russian occupation forces” were “taking place yesterday, are taking place today and will continue tomorrow”.

Mr Prigozhin has been in a long-running feud with Moscow and, during the 15-month war, he has repeatedly chastised Russia’s military leadership, accusing them of incompetence and failure to properly supply his troops.

Founder of Wagner private mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin talks to Wagner fighters in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict in Bakhmut, Ukraine, in this still image taken from video released May 25
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Mr Prigozhin has been critical Russia’s tactics in Bakhmut

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Wagner’s involvement in the capture of Bakhmut has upped Mr Prigozhin’s standing, which he has used to set out his personal views about the war.

“Prigozhin is … using the perception that Wagner is responsible for the capture of Bakhmut to advocate for a preposterous level of influence over the Russian war effort in Ukraine,” according to the Institute for the Study of War.

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Analysis: Wagner boss appears to insult Putin

His frequent critical commentary about Russia’s military performance is unusual under Mr Putin’s censorious regime.

His latest statement on Bakhmut came a day after he again broke with the Kremlin line on Ukraine.

He said its goal of demilitarising the country has backfired, acknowledged Russian troops have killed civilians and agreed with western estimates that he lost more than 20,000 men in the battle for the city.

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British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub

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British tourist stabbed to death outside Spanish nightclub

A British tourist has been stabbed to death outside a nightclub near Barcelona.

The incident happened at about 4am this morning in Calella, about 30 miles away from the city.

Police have confirmed that there was a fatality, and another person was injured and taken to hospital.

According to El Caso, there was a fight outside the Oxygen nightclub and the tourist died at the scene.

In a statement, Catalan police said it is “investigating the violent death of a 31-year-old man”.

Another man has been arrested in connection with the incident, and footage from security cameras in the area is being checked.

Sky News has contacted the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office for comment.

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Roberto Baggio: Former Italian football star robbed at gunpoint while watching Italy-Spain game

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Roberto Baggio: Former Italian football star robbed at gunpoint while watching Italy-Spain game

Retired Italian football star Roberto Baggio has been robbed at gunpoint while watching the national team play Spain at Euro 2024.

At least five armed robbers burst into Baggio’s villa near the northern city of Vicenza around 10pm local time (9pm BST) on Thursday, according to Italian media reports.

One intruder hit the 57-year-old on the head with the butt of a gun when the former player confronted them.

FILE - Italian soccer legend Roberto Baggio smiles as he attends an event at the Expo 2015 World's Fair on the occasion of the UN World Food Day in Rho, near Milan, Italy, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. Retired Italy star Roberto Baggio was robbed at gunpoint on Thursday, June 20, 2024 at his home while watching the national team’s game against Spain at the European Championship. Italian media reports say at least five armed robbers burst into Baggio’s villa near the northern city of Vicenza around arou
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Roberto Baggio in 2015. File pic: AP

The robbers locked him and his family in a room while they stole jewellery, watches and cash during the raid, which reportedly lasted 40 minutes.

Baggio was taken to hospital and received stitches for the wound. None of his family were harmed.

Italian sports newspaper Corriere dello Sport said Baggio had a “very brief” scuffle with one of the intruders and he suffered a “deep wound” after being hit on the forehead with the weapon.

Baggio, it said, broke down the door of the room he and his family were locked in before calling police.

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He was, the paper said, “very scared”, but was not seriously hurt.

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Known as ‘The Divine Ponytail’ during his playing career, Baggio was a gifted attacking midfielder who played 56 games for Italy, scoring 27 goals and starring in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.

Widely regarded as an all-time great, he played for Vicenza in his youth, going on to star for other Serie A clubs such as Fiorentina, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Spain won Thursday night’s Euro 2024 match, beating Italy 1-0 and securing their place in the knockout stages of the tournament in Germany.

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Jay Slater: ‘Living nightmare’ hunt for missing British teenager on Tenerife continues

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Jay Slater: 'Living nightmare' hunt for missing British teenager on Tenerife continues

Helicopters, rescue dogs and drones have continued to scour the holiday island of Tenerife for a missing British teenager as concerned family and friends endure a “living nightmare”.

The hunt for 19-year-old Jay Slater from Oswaldtwistle, near Blackburn in Lancashire, is now in its fifth day.

The apprentice bricklayer was holidaying with friends on Tenerife before he disappeared on Monday.

Pic: PA
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Pic: PA

Emergency workers near the village of Masca, Tenerife.
Pic: PA
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Pic: PA

He was last heard from when he called a friend to say he was setting off on an 11-hour walk to get home, after he missed his bus.

It came as new photographs showed the property where he was last seen in the northwestern mountain village of Masca after attending the NRG music festival.

In a post on the Facebook page “Jay Slater Missing”, the administrator of the group Rachel Louise Harg said family and friends were “drained beyond words”.

She said: “There isn’t an update for anyone unfortunately.

“Struggling to find words at this time but all I can say is we are looking still and everyone is doing all they can.

“We are drained beyond words – I just can’t say no more, I wish I could.

“I wish this would end now, this living nightmare.

“Searches are ongoing and we remain positive.

“Thanks to you all supporting and helping we can’t thank you any more, much love.”

Read more on Sky News:
British tourist stabbed to death outside nightclub
Italian football legend robbed at gunpoint

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Pic: PA

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Pic: PA

On Friday, search and rescue personnel joined officers from the island’s Guardia Civil near Masca to comb an area of overgrown terrain.

Teams also paid close attention to a river called Barranco Madre del Agua at the bottom of a ravine, where emergency workers carefully picked their way through fallen dead palm trees.

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Mr Slater’s friend Lucy Law, who attended the music festival with him, said he called her at about 8.30am on Monday and told her he was “lost in the mountains, he wasn’t aware of his surroundings, he desperately needed a drink and his phone was on 1%”.

Meanwhile, members of the local community rallied together at a church service in his home town to express their hope of his safe return.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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