(Moscow) The leader of the paramilitary group Wagner said on Sunday he had “a promise” from Moscow to receive more ammunition and armaments to continue fighting in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmout, after threatening to withdraw.
On Friday, Yevgeny Prigojine, in a video where he appeared furious with the leadership of the Russian army, had sworn that his troops would leave Bakhmout, the epicenter of the fighting in Ukraine, if they did not receive more support.
He also accused the high command of being responsible for “tens of thousands” of Russians killed and injured in Ukraine, as the threat of a major Ukrainian offensive looms with the help of weapons supplied by the West.
“Last night we received a combat order […]. We are promised to give us all the ammunition and armaments we need to continue the operations,” Prigojine said in an audio message released by his press service on Sunday.
“We are sworn that everything necessary will be provided to our flanks [around Bakhmout, editor’s note] so that the enemy does not break through them and we are told that we can act in Artiomovsk [Soviet name of Bakhmout] as we deems necessary,” he added.
Wagner’s boss has been accusing the Russian general staff for months of not providing enough ammunition to his men to deprive them of a victory at Bakhmout, which would overshadow the regular army.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar said on Saturday that the Russian enemy continued to “concentrate its main efforts in the Bakhmout sector” and was looking for “resources” to strengthen its capabilities there.
The battle has been going on since last summer in this locality of limited strategic value but which has taken on great symbolic weight with the duration and unprecedented violence of the fighting.
Wagner’s troops launched extremely deadly waves of assaults on the city, which had been turned into a field of ruins and controlled, according to Moscow, to more than 90% by Russian forces.
On Sunday, Yevgeny Prigozhin also claimed that General Sergei Surovikin would now make “all decisions regarding Wagner’s military operations in cooperation with the Russian Ministry of Defense”.
General Surovikin, reputed to be ruthless, had been appointed commander of the Russian forces in Ukraine in October, to the great satisfaction of Yevgeny Prigojine, and had coordinated the withdrawal of the Russian army from the city of Kherson.
But he was replaced in January in this post by General Valéri Guerassimov, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, very regularly criticized by the boss of Wagner.
In full fear of a Ukrainian offensive, the Russian occupation authorities announced on Friday partial evacuations in 18 occupied localities in the Ukrainian region of Zaporizhia (south), in particular in the city of Energodar, where most of the employees live. the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
“The situation in the area near the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is becoming increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous,” the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, said on Saturday.
Behind the front, Russia has been hit in recent days by a wave of attacks attributed by Moscow to Ukraine, which denies or does not comment. What to fear incidents during the great Russian military celebrations of May 9, the day of victory against Hitler in 1945.
A suspected drone attack hit a Kremlin building in Moscow, the heart of Russian power, on Wednesday.
On Saturday, a famous Russian nationalist writer supporting the attack in Ukraine, Zakhar Prilepin, was injured in the explosion of his car in the Nizhny Novgorod region, which killed his driver. After surgery, the writer was in “stable” condition and his mood was “vigorous,” the regional governor said Sunday.
At the same time, Russia said on Sunday that it had repelled a night attack by a dozen drones against Sevastopol, the home port of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea.
The security services (FSB, heirs of the KGB) claimed during the day that they had foiled a “terrorist sabotage” with drones, fomented by Kyiv, against an air base in the Ivanovo region.