The Russian private military company Wagner Group, which is fighting Ukrainian troops in the Donbass city of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), has been promised enough ammunition to continue the battle, the company’s head, Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Sunday.
The statement comes after Prigozhin warned that his fighters would be forced to pull out of the city on May 10 unless ammunition shortages are addressed by Russia’s Defense Ministry.
In a voice message posted on his Telegram channel, Prigozhin said that Wagner received “a military instruction … in which we were promised as much ammunition and weapons as we need to continue our activities.”
- “We were told that we can carry out activities in Artyomovsk as we deem necessary,” Prigozhin added.
- He also said that Army General Sergey Surovikin, the deputy commander of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, was tasked with “making all decisions related to the military activities of Wagner PMC in coordination with the Defense Ministry.”
On Friday, Prigozhin said that Wagner personnel were suffering heavy losses because of what he described as a 70% shortage of ammunition. He later announced that the positions held by Wagner would be handed over to Akhmat, an elite unit from Russia’s Chechnya.
- The fierce and bloody battle for the mining city of Artyomovsk, known to Ukrainians as Bakhmut, has been raging for several months. Prigozhin claims his forces have taken control of nearly all of the city, while the Ukrainians are holding out in a small area in the western part.
Capturing Artyomovsk, an important logistical hub, would allow Russian forces to make further advances in Donbass.