The embarrassment of the Kremlin, and the “poisonous” comment of Kiev, were caused by the words of the founder of the Wagner paramilitary group Yevgeny Prigozhin against Moscow. Beside himself, Prigozhin announced that his forces would leave Bakhmut on May 10, surrendering their positions to the Ministry of Defense, since, he said, remaining without the required ammunition was tantamount to a sentence of needless death.

Shouting and cursing, Prigozhin lashed out at those responsible for the ammunition shortages in Wagner’s forces, causing him to lose his men in what he called the “meat machine”. He named Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, while the camera showed the bodies of Wagner fighters. Prigozhin said his men would withdraw to “lick their wounds”.

Confusion in the Kremlin

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin is aware of Wagner PMC’s possible exit from Bakhmut, “but cannot comment on it, as the question concerns the course of hostilities,” Russian state media reported.

“PMC Wagner and its ‘volunteers’ should be placed under the leadership of the Ministry of Defense, then there will be no problems with supplies,” said State Duma deputy Viktor Sobolev, in a comment that could to be interpreted as a peak against the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defense, i.e. the “twin” Shoigu – Gerasimov.

Putin’s propagandist journalist Vladimir Soloviev criticized “Russian servicemen who speak publicly about their problems such as ammunition shortages,” apparently referring to Prigozhin, without naming him.

Poisonous comment from Kiev

“Wagner is running out of fighters, not from shells,” was the sarcastic comment of the representative of the Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Tserevaty, regarding Prigozhin’s statements about withdrawing from Bakhmut. “Prigozin is trying to make outrageous statements to get attention,” Tserevati added.
Wagner is officially the “butcher of Mariupol”

It is noted that the former Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia, General Mikhail Mizinchev, officially joined Wagner’s forces as a deputy commander, after being sacked by the Russian Ministry.

In two videos posted by war correspondent Alexander Simonov on Telegram, Mizinchev – dressed in Wagner combat gear – is seen visiting a training camp and touring Russian positions in Bakhmut.