Wagner Group boss issues withdrawal threat in stunning attack on Russian leaders

Bakhmut, Ukraine - The head of the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries is threatening to withdraw his troops from the embattled eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut next week after earlier complaining of a lack of ammunition.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries, threatened to withdraw his troops from the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries, threatened to withdraw his troops from the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.  © via REUTERS

"Without ammunition, my boys will not bear unnecessarily high losses," Yevgeny Prigozhin posted on his Telegram Channel on Friday. "For that reason we will withdraw from the city of Bakhmut from May 10."

"If Russia is in danger, we will come to its defense once more," Prigozhin also said. The withdrawal will take place on Wednesday, one day after Russia marks its victory over Nazi Germany, the Wagner leader indicated.

In a bombshell statement, Prigozhin accused Russia's military of "depriving the Russian people of victory." He also uploaded a video in which he can be seen standing in front of bodies laid out on the ground in the dark.

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"These are Wagner fighters who were killed today. The blood is still fresh," a raging Prigozhin said before launching into an attack on Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

"Shoigu, Gerasimov, where's the ammunition, damn it," the mercenary leader says. "You animals, you sit in expensive clubs, your children are enjoying life and recording clips on YouTube."

Battle for Bakhmut rages on

Prigozhin posted a highly critical statement on his Telegram channel, alongside videos of dead Wagner mercenaries.
Prigozhin posted a highly critical statement on his Telegram channel, alongside videos of dead Wagner mercenaries.  © via REUTERS

Fatalities among the mercenaries would have been five times lower with adequate ammunition, Prigozhin insisted.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said he was unable to comment on Prigozhin's remarks as they referred to the ongoing "special operation," as the Kremlin refers to the invasion.

Wagner soldiers have recently pushed the Ukrainians further and further back, but have not been able to completely conquer the completely destroyed city of Bakhmut and its surrounding area, which has seen intense fighting for months.

A Russian withdrawal from Bakhmut would not necessarily be a huge loss for Russian forces from a strategic point of view, but it would be a hugely symbolic defeat.

Cover photo: Collage: via REUTERS

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