A crude threat from Moscow forced the pro-Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Group to back down: they will not leave Bakhmut

The founder of Wagner’s private mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, speaks over the bodies of what he says are Wagner fighters killed in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Press service of “Concord”/Handout via REUTERS (PRESS SERVICE OF “CONCORD/)

The head of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin stated that “he received a combat order in which it is clearly stated that the abandonment of the positions will be interpreted as a betrayal of the homeland”.

“That was told to us, but if there is no ammunition we will abandon our positions and ask who is the real traitor, possibly the one who signed the order,” Prigozhin pointed out.

The head of the paramilitary group on Tuesday accused the Russian military hierarchy of wanting to “deceive” Vladimir Putin on the offensive in Ukrainein a new sign of its divergences with the Mayor stateprecisely the same day that Russia commemorates the victory against the Nazis in 1945.

“If everything is done to deceive the commander-in-chief (Vladimir Putin),” the Russian people “will be furious if the war is lost,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said, once again accusing the army of not giving him the ammunition they need to fully conquer Bakhmut. , the epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The leader of the mercenary group accused the soldiers of the Moscow regular army of fleeing from their positions in Bakhmuta town where the fighting is concentrated in eastern Ukraine, and accused the state of being incapable of defending Russia.

Prigozhin, is in open conflict with the Russian military hierarchy, whom he accuses of not providing enough ammunition to its fighters, who are on the front line in Bakhmut.

“Today (Tuesday), one of the units of the Ministry of Defense fled from one of our flanks (…) They abandoned their positions, they all fled,” Prigozhin accused in a video posted on Telegram.

“Why can’t the state manage to defend the country?” he said just as Russian President Vladimir Putin presided over a military parade in Moscow to commemorate the victory against the Nazis in 1945.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends meetings with foreign leaders on Victory Day, marking the 78th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2023. Sputnik/Vladimir Smirnov/Pool via REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends meetings with foreign leaders on Victory Day, marking the 78th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2023. Sputnik/Vladimir Smirnov/Pool via REUTERS (SPUTNIK/)

Last week Wagner’s boss threatened to withdraw his men from Bakhmut by May 10 if the General Staff did not deliver the ammunition he requested.

On Sunday, he claimed he received a “promise” from the army that they would receive sufficient supplies, which seemed to rule out a withdrawal of his fighters from Bakhmut.

But Prigozhin on Tuesday reiterated his threat to withdraw his mercenaries because he said they did not have enough ammunition, saying Wagner only received “10%” of what he asked for.

In his statements, however, he qualified the possible withdrawal by stating that they are not going to abandon Bakhmut and that they will stay for a few days.

“We are going to fight despite everything, we are going to manage,” he said.

Prigozhin confirmed today that his mercenary units will not abandon their positions in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut this midnight even though they have not yet received all the promised ammunition, because Moscow has made it clear that it would consider it a “betrayal of the homeland”.

“We will not leave Artiomovsk (Bakhmut’s name in Russian), we will insist a few more days, we will fight and then it will be seen,” he said in a video on his Telegram channel, although he denounced that, after receiving Moscow’s promise on Sunday that the Wagnerites would be provided with all the weapons and ammunition necessary to continue fighting in that city, finally only “we received 10% of what we asked for.”

“They just blatantly deceived us,” stressed Prigozhin, who threatened last Friday to withdraw his units from Bakhmut on Wednesday due to a shortage of ammunition and the “senseless” death of his men for it in this Ukrainian city.

Everything possible is being done so that the front collapses,” he stressed, referring to the unit of the Russian regular army that “fled and abandoned their positions” on one of Bakhmut’s flanks and left an area of ​​almost 2 kilometers without protection. wide and 500 kilometers deep.

Prigozhin maintained that the Ukrainian forces are “tearing the flanks” in the direction of Bakhmut, where there are still 2.36 square kilometers to be taken, and are regrouping in the neighboring region of Zaporizhzhia. “They will start a counter-offensive in the near future,” he warned.

The businessman once again lashed out at the Russian military leadership in his already old confrontation with the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Valeri Guerasimov, stating that a “soldier should not die for stupidity absolute of his leadership”.

He maintained that the orders received by commanders on the ground are “simply absolutely criminal.”

“And therefore I want to emphasize that there is a crime called “destruction of the Russian people, treason against the fatherland”, which is being committed “by a small group of people”.

Prigozhin also mentioned that he does not know why the Russian leadership has today to celebrate the Day of Soviet victory over Nazi Germany.

“Happy Victory Day to all our grandparents. Why we are celebrating it is a big question,” she said.

(With information from AFP and EFE)

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