Tags: wagner group | fighters | russia | yevgeny prigozhin | bakhmut | ukraine | ammunition

Wagner Group Leader Threatens to Leave Bakhmut

By    |   Friday, 05 May 2023 09:05 AM EDT

The head of private military company Wagner said Friday he will pull his fighters out of the battle of Bakhmut because Moscow is not supplying them with the ammunition they need.

"I am withdrawing the units of PMC Wagner from Bakhmut because, in the absence of ammunition, they are doomed to senseless death," Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin announced in a video Friday on Telegraph as he stood in front of a group of Wagner fighters at an undisclosed location, NBC News reported.

"I declare on behalf of the Wagner fighters, on behalf of the Wagner command, that on May 10, 2023, we are obliged to transfer positions in the settlement of Bakhmut to units of the Defense Ministry and withdraw the remains of Wagner to logistics camps to lick our wounds," he said in Friday's post.

The announcement came hours after Prigozhin released an expletive-laden video Thursday, also on Telegraph, where he showed himself surrounded by dozens of dead bodies while blaming Moscow for the heavy losses by his fighters.

In Thursday night's video, Prigozhin said the bodies of his fighters that were shown came from just one day of fighting in the Bakhmut region, and he blamed the "fat cats" in Russia's military leadership, CNN reported.

"We are lacking 70% of the needed ammunition," Prigozhin says in the video while shining a flashlight on the bodies lying outdoors near what looks to be the front lines of the war.

"Shoigu, Gerasimov, where … is the ammunition?" he said, referring to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian armed forces.

"The blood is still fresh," Prigozhin added. "They came here as volunteers and are dying so you can sit like fat cats in your luxury offices. These are someone's f****** fathers and someone's sons. And you f****** who aren't giving [us] ammunition, you b******, will have your guts eaten out in hell!"

The Wagner mercenary group's role in the war in Ukraine comes as Russia's forces are faltering, and Prigozhin has been visible on the front lines in recent months while claiming credit for gains in territory, especially in the fighting around Bakhmut.

He said in his statement that Wagner had planned to capture Bakhmut by May 9, the day Russia celebrates its World War II victory over Nazi Germany, but had not been able to do so because of the lack of support for his troops, NBC reported.

Prigozhin has repeatedly complained that the Kremlin is not supporting his troops in the battles in the Bakhmut region. In February, he also posted a picture on Telegram of corpses, while appealing for ammunition, and said in a statement shortly after that a shipment of ammunition was being sent to his troops, said CNN.

At that time, he accused Shoigu and Gerasimov of "treason" over the Wagner group's supply shortages.

Prigozhin also threatened last weekend to pull out his troops from the city if Moscow failed to provide more ammunition.

The Wagner group has become known because of its brutal tactics and use of recruits who are sent to fight without having had much formal training, leading retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling to compare such methods to "feeding meat to a meat grinder."

Still, Prigozhin's clashes with Shoigu and Gerasimov, growing along with his status, have prompted speculation about infighting in Moscow while Russia's campaign in Ukraine continues to fail.

The U.S. government said this week that more than 100,000 Russian soldiers have either been killed or wounded in Ukraine since December, with half of those numbers coming from fighters with the Wagner group, NBC reported.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the Wagner fighters, many of whom are ex-convicts, were fighting without having had "sufficient combat training, combat leadership, or any sense of organizational command and control."

Prigozhin's threats to pull out come after Moscow this week accused the United States of being behind a Ukrainian drone attack on the Kremlin that it said was a "terrorist" attack aimed at assassinating Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Some analysts speculate the claims, though, could be a Russian false flag, and Kyiv and Washington have denied being behind an attack.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is reportedly planning a major counteroffensive against Russia after both sides suffered heavy losses in the Bakhmut region this winter.

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The head of private military company Wagner said Friday he will pull his fighters out of the battle of Bakhmut because Moscow is not supplying them with the ammunition they need.
wagner group, fighters, russia, yevgeny prigozhin, bakhmut, ukraine, ammunition
Friday, 05 May 2023 09:05 AM
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