MOSCOW (Reuters) – The head of Russia’s paramilitary group Wagner said on Friday it would withdraw its fighters from the front line in Ukraine due to a lack of ammunition, drawing criticism from military commanders in a shocking video.
On May 10, 2023 we will have to hand over our sites in Bakhmut To the units of the Ministry of Defense and the withdrawal of Wagner units to breeding camps to lick our wounds”, Yevgeny Prigozhin he said in a statement on Telegram.
“I will withdraw Wagner units from Bakhmut because in the absence of ammunition they face senseless death,” he said, adding that he was awaiting “orders to leave Bakhmut.”
Wagner fighters played a leading role in the Russian campaign in Ukraine, leading the months-long battle 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 that footage, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov singled out for unprecedented criticism.
“Shoigu! Gerasimov! Where are my damned ammunition?” angrily Prigozhin said in the video.
“They came here as volunteers, and they’re dying to fatten up in your wood-paneled offices,” he said, standing next to rows of corpses in uniform.
“These guys are from Wagner. They died today and their blood is still alive,” he said, adding that the army commanders would “go to hell” for not sending ammunition.
“We have a 70 percent shortage of ammunition,” he said in his speech, in which he uttered many obscenities.
“You’re sitting in your expensive clubs. Your kids are so full of life and filming themselves in YouTube videos.”
“You think you are the masters of life and have the right to decide their lives,” he said, pointing to the corpses.
Prigozhin is closely linked to President Vladimir Putin, and the two began their careers in business and politics in their hometown of Saint Petersburg after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Prigozhin frequently criticizes senior officers of the Russian army on the issue of ammunition, but the level of criticism and emotive language is unprecedented.


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