Head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force threatens to withdraw troops from battle in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine due to high casualty rates and lack of ammunition, while Ukrainian military authorities say supply routes to the front-line city have not been cut off.
The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has threatened to withdraw his troops from the battle for Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine due to mounting casualty rates. Prigozhin blamed the lack of artillery ammunition, saying that losses in Bakhmut were five times higher than necessary. He has written to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu asking for ammunition and warned that the Russian front line would collapse elsewhere if some fighters withdrew from Bakhmut. The withdrawal of fighters would also make the Russian positions in Bakhmut’s rear vulnerable to counterattacks. However, Ukraine’s military authorities say that Russian forces have been unable to cut their supply routes to the front-line city. The battle of attrition for Bakhmut has become known as the “meat grinder” due to its high casualty rates, and Ukraine has pledged to defend the city.