The head of the Russian mercenary organization Wagner announced that his soldiers have already begun to withdraw from the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, as stated by Yevgeny Prigozhin and added that his forces are ready to return if the Russian regular army proves unable to handle the situation.

We are withdrawing units from Bahamut today”Mr Prigozhin said in a video posted on Telegram from the devastated city.

Prigozhin – who announced the capture of the city on Saturday – is seen telling his men to leave ammunition for the Russian army. He adds that some Wagner fighters will stay behind to help Russian troops.

“When the army is in a difficult situation, it will stand up”he says, before warning two fighters not to “intimidate the army”.

Wagner’s boss has repeatedly targeted top Russian military officials, publicly criticizing them for not supporting his troops. Last month, he even threatened to withdraw his troops from the city if they were not provided with the necessary ammunition.

At the moment, however, Ukraine has not admitted that Bahamut fell. Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Hana Maliar, said on Thursday that her forces still control part of the Litak district in the southwest of the city.