Kremlin in crisis as Wagner Group chief threatens Putin with ultimatum

Ukraine: Prigozhin says Bakhmut is ‘surrounded’ by Wagner

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The leader of the Wagner Group has demanded that the Russian military send his mercenary troops ammunition immediately. Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder and leader, who is on the frontline in the fight for Bakhmut, issued the demand under a veiled ultimatum. He warned that if his troops did not receive any more ammunition, they would retreat and the entire Russian frontline would collapse.

The threat was delivered in a four-minute video message recorded Sunday night near Bakhmut.

Mr Prigozhin said the retreat of mercenaries from Bakhmut due to “ammunition shortage” would lead to the collapse of the front up to the Russian border “or even further,” adding Crimea would also fall to Ukraine.

The Wagner chief said: “If Wagner retreats from Bakhmut now, the whole front will collapse.

“The situation will be unpleasant for all military formations protecting Russia’s interests.”

He said claimed that the Russian army would be “forced to stabilise the front” while “Crimea falls”.

The Wagner Chief suggested that the Russian military brass was trying to “set up” his forces to be the scapegoats for a Russian defeat in Ukraine.

He said: “What if they want to set us up and say we are villains, and that’s why we aren’t given ammo and weapons and allowed to reinforce personnel, including convicts?”

Hitting out at Russia’s regular army, Mr Prigozhin described his mercenaries as the “cement” holding the whole war effort together.

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He said: “Wagner is the cement. We are drawing the entire Ukrainian army on ourselves, breaking them and destroying them.”

The threatening video message comes just a day after Mr Prigozhin boasted that Wagner was on the brink of victory in Bakhmut.

The Wagner boss has increasingly spoken out against the Russian military elite in recent months.


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He publicly accused Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov of committing “treason” by trying to “destroy” Wagner out of jealousy of his victories in Ukraine.

Mr Prigozhin has also repeatedly praised the Ukrainian army as a worthy and capable adversary.

This comes as intense fighting continues to reign in and around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

Ukrainian forces still control the city despite the street fighting, according to the deputy mayor of Bakhmut, Oleksandr Marchenko.

Top Ukrainian commander, Volodymyr Nazarenko, said that Russian forces lacked ammunition and were shelling the city chaotically.

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