Moscow, May 5 (EFE).- The head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, on Friday threatened to withdraw his units from the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region next week due to a lack of ammunition and the large number of casualties in the private army’s ranks.
In a video posted on his Telegram account, Prigozhin stated “on behalf of Wagner fighters and their command that on May 10, 2023 we will be obliged to hand over the positions in the town of Bakhmut to the Defense Ministry units and redeploy fighters to the rear to lick our wounds.”
“I am withdrawing the Wagner Group units from Bakhmut because in the absence of ammunition they are doomed to a senseless death,” he said, addressing “Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin and the people of Russia.”
Prigozhin, who said the mercenaries only have 10% of the ammunition they need, said he was prepared to be criticized for his decision to withdraw his mercenaries.
“There will be smart-asses who will say that it was necessary to stay longer in Bakhmut. But those who want to criticize are welcome to come to Bakhmut,” he said, stressing that his troops have been fighting for control of the city for nine months.
“By not giving us ammunition you do not deprive us of victory, you deprive Russia of victory,” he proclaimed.
“We would have to take Bakhmut by May 9 (the date of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II), but since May 1 the military bureaucrats have been preventing us from access to almost all kinds of artillery shells,” he added.
But he said that after the paramilitary group “licks its wounds, and when the Motherland is in danger, we will again stand up for her defense.
“The Russian people can count on us,” he concluded.
Overnight, Prigozhin had released another video in which he angrily lashed out at Shoigu and Gerasimov in an expletive-laden message while standing next to rows of lifeless, bloodied bodies of Wagner mercenaries who all died in just one day.
In that video, he claimed that there would have been five times fewer Wagner’s casualties if the private army’s units had received the required ammunition.
“You sit, creatures, in expensive clubs. Your children are addicted to life, shoot videos on Youtube. You think that you are the masters of this life and that you have the right to dispose of their lives. (…) They volunteered here and are dying for you to fatten in your mahogany cabinets,” he said.
Earlier, Prigozhin had already complained that his units were losing about 100 men in Bakhmut every day due to the lack of ammunition.
At his daily press conference on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on the Wagner chief’s threats. EFE