Wagner to hand Bakhmut positions to Russian Army on May 10
Wagner chief says that some parties are cutting off almost all types of artillery munitions from his forces which is causing an exponential rise of casualties among his units.
Chief of Wagner Group Private Military Company Evgeny Prigozhin announced on Thursday that his forces will be withdrawing from Bakhmut city in Donbass on May 10 and that they will be handing their positions over to the Russian Army.
Prigozhin cited that the reason for this measure is that his units have been suffering significant losses due to a lack of artillery munitions and that they will be retreating to the rear camps to "lick their wounds."
Bakhmut, which is situated north of Donetsk, holds strategic significance for the course of the war. The city has long been the transportation route of food and supplies for the Ukrainian troops stationed in Donbas.
Addressing the Russian president, the Defense Ministry, and the people, Prigozhin complained in a video released on Telegram that his forces were unable to continue positioning in the city - after a few months of fierce fighting - due to not receiving enough munitions.
Read more: Wagner confirms soldiers advance into outskirts of Bakhmut
He added that Wagner was supposed to take Bakhmut by May 9, one day ahead of Victory Day, but “paramilitary bureaucrats” blocked almost all artillery munitions from his troops since the first of this month.
“The offensive resources of PMC Wagner ran out at the beginning of April, but we are advancing despite the fact that the enemy forces outnumber us by five times,” Prigozhin said.
“Despite all this, the council of Wagner PMC commanders has decided to hold their positions and continue the offensive on Bakhmut until May 10, 2023, in order to celebrate the sacred holiday for Russians – May 9, Victory Day – with the brilliance of Russian arms,” he continued.
Read more: Wagner Group designated as criminal organization by US Treasury
“We will lick our wounds, and when the motherland will be in danger, we will once again stand for its defense. The Russian people can count on us,” Prigozhin concluded.
The spokesperson of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov said that they are aware of Prigozhin’s statement, but will not comment on the matter because it is linked to Russia's Special Military Operation SMO.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pledged earlier to defend "fortress Bakhmut" for as long as possible, calling on allies to intensify their support to help his troops do so.