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Wagner says Russia promises enough ammo to stay in Bakhmut

MOSCOW (AFP) – The head of the Wagner mercenary group said on Sunday that Russia had promised his fighters enough ammunition to stay in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, after threatening to pull out in scathing videos. Rivalries between Yevgeny Prigozhin and the conventional army had boiled over during the battle for the now-devastated flashpoint, where Wagner is leading the assault.

“Overnight we received a combat order… they promised to give us all the ammunition and armaments we need to continue the operations” in Bakhmut, Prigozhin said. His group has been assured “that everything necessary will be provided”, he added.

On Friday, he had threatened to pull out of Bakhmut on May 10, blaming Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov for “tens of thousands” of Russian casualties in a series of blistering, profanity-laced videos. “Their unprofessionalism is destroying tens of thousands of Russian guys and that is unforgivable,” he said.

The internal row comes as Russia has reported increasing drone strikes and sabotage inside its territory ahead of an expected spring counteroffensive from Ukraine.

Ukraine also reported casualties early yesterday morning from fresh Russian strikes on Kyiv overnight.

Ukrainian servicemen fire a 105 millimetres Howitzer towards Russian positions near the city of Bakhmut, Ukraine. PHOTO: AFP

The Ukrainian air command said that all 35 Russian drones launched at the city had been detected and shot down, while the local military administration said at least five people were wounded, with falling debris blamed for damage in multiple areas.

In Odessa, the district military administration reported an airstrike hitting a warehouse, adding that “there has not been any information about victims”.

In one of his previous video broadsides against the Russian army Prigozhin stood before what he said were rows of dead Wagner fighters.

“They came here as volunteers and they are dying so you can get fat in your wood-panelled offices,” he said. On Saturday, he asked Moscow to let him hand over his positions to Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, who had said that his forces were “ready to move” toward Bakhmut.

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