Head of the Wagner PMC Evgeny Prigozhin has announced plans to withdraw his troops from Bakhmut on May 10 and cede their positions to MoD forces due to a shortage of munitions. His press service released the video and transcript of his address on Telegram.
According to him, the shortage of shells among Wagner troops has reached 90%.
Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov has confirmed that the Kremlin is aware of Prigozhin's address but refused to comment, citing restrictions imposed on information about the “special military operation”.
Earlier, Prigozhin recorded a video address to Russia’s MoD top brass against the background of fallen Wanger mercenaries. He claimed that the shortage of munitions had reached 70% and slammed Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.
During the war in Ukraine, Wagner PMC fighters have been vocal in their criticism of Russia’s military commanders, often using swear words when referring to army generals. Late in December, mercenaries released a video address to the Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov: “To the Chief of the General Staff: you're a f***ot and a f*cking *sshole. We have nothing to fight with, we have no shells. There are guys out there dying for us, and we're sitting here not f*cking helping. We need shells, we want to f*ck everybody up. We're fighting against the entire Ukrainian army here at Bakhmut.”
Prigozhin has addressed both Gerasimov and Shoigu multiple times, blaming them for insufficient weapons supply: “Why is Wagner PMC not getting munitions? ...Because a bunch of quasi-military bureaucrats have decided they own the country and the people. They decided they can doom people to death whenever it suits them and whenever they please.” He suggested treating their acts as high treason. This was not the first conflict in the struggle for power between the PMC and the Ministry of Defense. In January, Prigozhin and the ministry disagreed on the capture of Soledar. The PMC chief insisted his mercenaries had taken the city, while the MoD pointed out that other troops apart from Wagner fighters had participated in the battle of Soledar.