Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Russian Private Army Boss Threatens Pullout From Key Ukraine Battlefield
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 1 year ago on
May 5, 2023

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The owner of Russia’s Wagner Group military contractor threatened Friday to pull his troops out of the protracted battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut next week, accusing Russia’s military command of starving his forces of ammunition and causing them heavy losses.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a notorious millionaire with longtime links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, claimed that Wagner had planned to capture Bakhmut by May 9. That day is a major Russian holiday marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

But, Prigozhin said, his force hasn’t received enough artillery ammunition supplies from the Russian military since Monday. Known for his bluster, Prigozhin has previously made unverifiable claims and made threats he hasn’t carried out.

Hours before releasing the statement, Prigozhin’s spokespeople published a video of him angrily demanding ammunition from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov.

In the video, Prigozhin stands in front of around 30 uniformed bodies lying on the ground. He says they are the bodies of Wagner fighters who died on Thursday alone.

Prigozhin speaks in a furious tone and uses numerous expletives in the video.

“These are someone’s fathers and someone’s sons,” Prigozhin says, pointing at the bodies. “The scum that doesn’t give us ammunition will eat their guts in hell.”

He alleged that Russia’s regular army was supposed to protect the flanks as Wagner troops pushed forward but is “barely holding on to them,” deploying “tens and rarely hundreds” of troops.

Russia’s Defense Ministry did not immediately comment on the claims, and it was not possible to independently verify them.

“Wagner ran out of resources to advance in early April, but we’re advancing despite the fact that the enemy’s resources outnumber ours fivefold,” Prigozhin’s statement said. “Because of the lack of ammunition, our losses are growing exponentially every day.”

Convicts Fight for Russian Private Army

The Wagner Group has spearheaded the struggle for control of Bakhmut, which is the longest — and likely bloodiest — battle of the war. The more than eight months of fighting there is believed to have cost thousands of lives, though neither side is saying how many.

Prigozhin has toured Russian prisons to recruit fighters, promising inmates pardons if they survive a half-year tour of front-line duty with Wagner. Western countries and United Nations experts have accused Wagner mercenaries of committing numerous human rights abuses throughout Africa, including in the Central African Republic, Libya and Mali.

Bakhmut, located about 34 miles north of the Russian-held regional capital of Donetsk, has tactical military value for Moscow, though analysts say it won’t be decisive in the war’s outcome.

The city had a prewar population of 80,000 and was an important industrial center. It is now a devastated ghost town, but it has become an important symbol of Ukrainian resistance to Russia’s invasion, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying its capitulation could begin building international support for a deal that could require Ukraine to make unacceptable compromises.

Prigozhin’s statement said that Wagner will be forced to pull out of Bakhmut on May 10 and have Russia’s regular army take over, “because without ammunition, (Wagner fighters) are doomed to a senseless death.”

He accused “jealous military bureaucrats” of denying him ammunition. Western officials and analysts believe Russia has run low on ammunition as the 14-month conflict became bogged down in a war of attrition over the winter, with both sides resorting to long-range bombardments.

It is not the first time Prigozhin has raged about ammunition shortages and blamed Russia’s military, with which he has long been in conflict. He has already threatened to withdraw from Bakhmut once, in an interview with a Russian military blogger last week, if the situation with ammunition doesn’t improve.

Asked by The Associated Press about Prigozhin’s statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had seen refences to it in the media but refused to comment further. The Russian military did not immediately comment on the statement either.

Also Friday, an oil refinery in Russia’s southern Krasnodar region which borders the annexed Crimean Peninsula briefly caught fire after it was attacked by a drone, Russia’s state news agency Tass reported, citing emergency officials. The fire was small and was quickly put out, the report said.

It was the second straight day that the Ilyinsky refinery had came under a drone attack. Drone attacks on oil facilities in Russian regions on the border with Ukraine have been reported almost daily over the past week.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Lauryn Hill, Tyla and More Will Perform at the 2024 BET Awards. Here’s What to Know About the Show

DON'T MISS

From Globe Trotting to Globe Tripping: Why Psychedelic Vacations Are on Trend

DON'T MISS

Find Out Which Lobbying Groups Get Their Way Most Often in the California Legislature

DON'T MISS

Here’s Why Ukraine Should Seek Peace

DON'T MISS

Fresno County Gets National Recognition for Poverello House Project

DON'T MISS

You Don’t Think Corn Dogs Are Haute Cuisine? These Chefs, Using Alligator Sausage, Beg to Differ.

DON'T MISS

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

DON'T MISS

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

DON'T MISS

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

DON'T MISS

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

UP NEXT

G7 Leaders Agree to Lend Ukraine Billions Backed by Russia’s Frozen Assets. Here’s How It Will Work

UP NEXT

US Reporter Evan Gershkovich, Jailed in Russia on Espionage Charges, to Stand Trial, Officials Say

UP NEXT

Over 200 Rockets Launched from Lebanon Following Israeli Strike on Hezbollah Commander

UP NEXT

US Broadens Sanctions Against Russia, Aiming to Dissuade China from Engaging in Moscow Trade

UP NEXT

Blinken: Some Hamas Ceasefire Plan Adjustments Viable, Others Not

UP NEXT

Image Allegedly Posted by IDF Soldier Goes Viral on Social Media

UP NEXT

Chinese Police Say Suspect Is in Custody in Stabbing of 4 US College Instructors

UP NEXT

UN Security Council Adopts Cease-Fire Resolution to End Israel-Hamas War

UP NEXT

Israel’s Secret Influence Campaign Targets US Lawmakers Amid Gaza War

UP NEXT

GBU-39: The Small US Bomb Causing Mass Casualties in Gaza

Here’s Why Ukraine Should Seek Peace

12 hours ago

Fresno County Gets National Recognition for Poverello House Project

12 hours ago

You Don’t Think Corn Dogs Are Haute Cuisine? These Chefs, Using Alligator Sausage, Beg to Differ.

12 hours ago

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

23 hours ago

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

1 day ago

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

1 day ago

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

1 day ago

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

1 day ago

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

1 day ago

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

1 day ago

Lauryn Hill, Tyla and More Will Perform at the 2024 BET Awards. Here’s What to Know About the Show

NEW YORK — The 2024 BET Awards are fast approaching. Last year’s show celebrated 50 years of hip-hop with tributes to the genre’s earl...

10 hours ago

10 hours ago

Lauryn Hill, Tyla and More Will Perform at the 2024 BET Awards. Here’s What to Know About the Show

11 hours ago

From Globe Trotting to Globe Tripping: Why Psychedelic Vacations Are on Trend

12 hours ago

Find Out Which Lobbying Groups Get Their Way Most Often in the California Legislature

12 hours ago

Here’s Why Ukraine Should Seek Peace

12 hours ago

Fresno County Gets National Recognition for Poverello House Project

12 hours ago

You Don’t Think Corn Dogs Are Haute Cuisine? These Chefs, Using Alligator Sausage, Beg to Differ.

23 hours ago

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

1 day ago

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend