Wagner leader threatens to withdraw Bakhmut fighters for lack of ammunition

MOSCOW: The leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner said on Friday it would withdraw its fighters from the front line in Ukraine due to lack of ammunition, chastising army chiefs in a gruesome video.
“On May 10, 2023, we will have to divest our positions in Bakhmut to Ministry of Defense units and withdraw Wagner units to rear camps to lick our wounds,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a statement on Telegram.
“I will withdraw the Wagner units from Bakhmut because in the absence of ammunition they face senseless death,” he said, adding that he was awaiting “the order to leave Bakhmut.”
Wagner’s fighters played a leading role in the Russian campaign in Ukraine, leading the months-long fight to capture Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine – the longest and bloodiest battle to date.
Earlier, Prigozhin posted a video on Telegram showing rows of what he said were dead Wagner fighters.
In this sequence, he singled out Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov for unprecedented criticism.
“Shougou! Gerasimov! Where’s my fucking ammo? an angry Prigozhin said in the video.
“They came here as volunteers and they’re dying so you can get fat in your wood-panelled offices,” he said, standing next to rows of bodies in military uniform.
“These guys are from Wagner. They died today. Their blood is still fresh,” he said, adding that army leaders would “go to hell” for not sending ammunition.
“We have a 70% ammunition shortage,” he said in his tirade, in which several swear words were uttered.
“You’re sitting in your expensive clubs (beeps). Your kids are full of life and filming themselves in videos on YouTube.”
“You think you are the masters of life and you have the right to decide their lives,” he said, pointing to the bodies.
Prigozhin is closely linked to President Vladimir Putin and the two began their careers in business and politics in their native St. Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Prigozhin frequently criticizes senior Russian military officials over the ammunition issue, but the level of criticism and the emotive language are unprecedented.


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