The head of the Russian private military company Wagner has threatened to withdraw his mercenaries from the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut if they don’t receive more munitions to continue the fight.
Those responsible for weapons procurement in Russia “stopped giving us ammunition,” Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed in an interview with the Russian pro-Kremlin blogger Semyon Pegov, who blogs under the alias WarGonzo.
The pointed warnings for Russian defense officials, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, come as Bakhmut remains heavily contested.
“I am appealing to Sergei Shoigu with a request to issue ammunition immediately. Now if this is refused … I deem it necessary to inform the commander-in-chief about the existing problems, and to make a decision regarding the feasibility of continuing to station units in the settlement of Bakhmut, given the current shortage of ammunition,” Prigozhin said.
The mercenary leader has a track record of misleading statements and did not provide evidence for his statements. CNN cannot independently verify the situation on the ground in Bakhmut.
“Do we go on with our assaults or not? Do we stay or go?” Prigozhin continued, vowing that his fighters will defend Bakhmut “until the very last round of ammunition,” but saying their supplies have dwindled to a matter of days, not weeks.
Prigozhin, whose forces have played a key role in Russian assaults on Ukrainian territory including Bakhmut, has often clashed with Putin’s generals and other defense officials in Moscow.
He has complained for well over a month of receiving insufficient support from the Kremlin in the grueling fight for the eastern city.
Prigozhin, who often speaks sarcastically, in the interview suggested his rifts with Moscow have not healed.