Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary organization, expresses concern about flanks near Bakhmut, as seized land is lost without a fight, and tensions mount between Prigozhin and Russian defense officials.
The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, expressed concern about the pressure on their flanks near the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, resulting in the loss of previously captured territory. Prigozhin argued that regular Russian forces should be responsible for protecting Wagner’s flanks in that area. He described the situation as the worst-case scenario, with territories being abandoned without resistance. Russia’s defense ministry stated that their paratroopers were supporting an advance on the western side of the city and had engaged Ukrainian army units on the flanks. Prigozhin claimed his fighters were approximately 625 meters away from the city’s western outskirts. The reports could not be independently verified by Reuters. Prigozhin has been in a feud with Russian defense chiefs, accusing them of inadequate support. He also disputed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s statement about the delay in Ukraine’s counteroffensive, claiming that it was already underway and partially successful. On Wednesday, both Prigozhin and the Ukrainian military reported the routing of a Russian army unit near Bakhmut, while Russia’s defense ministry made no mention of the setback and continued to assert their troops’ advancement. Prigozhin stated that attacking Bakhmut aimed to strengthen the offensive capabilities, weaken the enemy, and facilitate the Russian army’s mobilization after previous retreats.