Yevgeny Prigozhin was filmed walking among his dead fighters and slamming Russian defence officials for not providing his mercenary forces with adequate ammunition.
“Shoigu! Gerasimov! Where is the… ammunition?… They came here as volunteers and die for you to fatten yourselves in your mahogany offices,” he said.
Prigozhin, 61, has repeatedly taken aim at Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov amid reports of infighting between different groups in Putin’s inner circle over decisions related to the Ukrainian conflict.
Prigozhin went on to say he would be pulling out his troops from the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut due to the ammunition shortage and warned that casualties were “growing in geometrical progression every day”.
He added that his troops would be pulling out of Bakhmut on May 9, the day after Russia marks its Victory Day in World War Two, and said that he would “transfer positions in the settlement of Bakhmut to units of the defence ministry and withdraw the remains of Wagner to logistics camps to lick our wounds”.
“My lads will not suffer useless and unjustified losses in Bakhmut without ammunition,” he added.
In October 2022, the oligarch and former convict said that commanders of the Russian army “ought to be sent to the front barefoot with just a submachine gun” and has previously called members of the Russian parliament “useless”.
Prigozhin has been close with Vladimir Putin in the past, but it is unclear whether he remains in good favour with the Russian president.
The Kremlin has not commented on Prigozhin’s latest statements.