Prigozhin warns of risk of encirclement of Wagnerites in Bakhmut
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner private military company (PMC), said there is a high risk of encircling his mercenaries in Bakhmut as the flanks held by the Russian military are cracking.
Source: Prigozhin's press service on Telegram
Quote from Prigozhin: "Due to the reduction of personnel, Wagner PMC was forced to cede its flanks to the military. There is a serious risk of encircling the Wagner PMC in Bakhmut due to the failure of the flanks. The flanks are already cracking and falling through. Without ammunition, the ‘meat grinder’ will work in the opposite direction: the Ukrainian Armed Forces will destroy the Wagner PMC."
Details: Prigozhin also repeated that Bakhmut allegedly has no strategic importance. Allegedly, the Wagnerites and the Russian army were there to "grind the enemy's manpower" and allow the Russian military to conduct mobilisation.
But despite the fighting in Bakhmut, according to the leader of the Wagnerites, the Armed Forces of Ukraine still accumulated forces for a counteroffensive.
At the same time, Prigozhin again complained that his militants did not receive the necessary number of shells.
As he states, now only the Wagnerites are located within Bakhmut; there are no other units, and the Russian Armed Forces are the only ones to be outside the city.
Prigozhin added that his militants planned to leave Bakhmut "to save the fighters' lives" since there was no ammunition.
After that, the top Russian leadership allegedly instructed the Russian Defence Ministry to provide the Wagner PMC with everything necessary, but they did not receive any ammunition, according to Prigozhin.
At the same time, he claims that the Wagnerites are allegedly continuing the offensive in Bakhmut and are waiting for ammunition.
On 5 May, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner private military company, wrote a letter to the Russian Defence Ministry stating that he would be withdrawing his mercenaries from Bakhmut after 10 May. He claimed that the reason for the move was that the Ministry of Defence did not give his fighters enough ammunition, and he did not want his people to be "doomed to a senseless death" because of this.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine are sceptical about the claim made by Prigozhin.
Later, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov offered his assistance with the occupation of Bakhmut. On 6 May, Prigozhin announced that he would supposedly hand over the positions of his fighters in Bakhmut to Kadyrov's soldiers.
On 7 May, Prigozhin stated he had received a combat instruction – presumably from the Russian Ministry of Defence – saying that his soldiers would receive ammunition and weapons.
Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) concluded that Yevgeny Prigozhin did not withdraw the Wagnerites from Bakhmut because he is dependent on the Russian Ministry of Defence.
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