The head of Russia’s mercenary group Wagner has lashed out against Russian military saying his troops are yet to receive key ammunition stocks to win against Ukraine just moments after Putin appeared at his country’s Victory Day parade in Moscow. In a video posted after Vladimir Putin delivered his speech, Yevgeny Prigozhin said: “The people who were supposed to fulfil the (shipment) orders have so far, over the past day, not fulfilled them.”
Speaking before, the Wagner chief said he would release more information after the speech as to not “spoil” Victory Day celebrations.
The Telegram video comes after Prigozhin threatened to pull his troops out of the protracted battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut last week.
Prigozhin, a wealthy entrepreneur with longtime links to Russian President Putin, claimed that Wagner had planned to capture Bakhmut by May 9.
But, Prigozhin said, his force has not received enough artillery ammunition supplies from the Russian military since Monday.
Known for his bluster, Prigozhin has previously made unverifiable claims and made threats he has not carried out.
He said: ”I am withdrawing the units of PMC Wagner from Bakhmut because in the absence of ammunition they are doomed to senseless death.”
He warned his troops would retreat to camps on May 10 to “lick our wounds”.
Moments before his video was released, Putin told his country’s traditional Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square that the West’s “untamed ambitions, arrogance and impunity” are driving “a real war” against Russia, while the Kremlin’s forces fired another cruise missile barrage at Ukraine.
He said: “Today civilisation is once again at a decisive turning point. A real war has been unleashed against our Motherland.”
Putin’s remarks came just hours after the Kremlin’s forces fired its latest barrage of cruise missiles at Ukraine, which Russia invaded more than 14 months ago in what it officially refers to as a “special military operation”.
Ukrainian authorities said air defences destroyed 23 of the 25 missiles that were launched. The air force said in a Telegram post that eight Kalibr cruise missiles were fired from carriers in the Black Sea toward the east and 17 from strategic aircraft.
Putin has repeatedly framed the war in Ukraine as a proxy conflict with the West. The Kremlin’s official narrative of the war depicts an existential battle with the West, which in Moscow’s view is merely using Ukraine as a tool to destroy Russia, re-write its history and crush its traditional values. That version of events has dominated Russian state media coverage of the war.
Putin praised soldiers taking part in the war in Ukraine and urged Russians to stand together.
He said: “Our heroic ancestors proved that there is nothing stronger, more powerful and more reliable than our unity. There is nothing in the world stronger than our love for the motherland.”
He blasted “Western globalist elites” that “harp about their exclusivity, pit people against each other, divide society and provoke bloody conflicts and coups, sow hatred, Russophobia.”