Wagner chief warns entire Russian front line will FILL in if his troops don’t get ammunition

The founder of the Russian mercenary group Wagner has warned that the entire front line will collapse and Moscow could lose the war if his troops in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut are not given more ammunition.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose mercenary group has played a major role in Russia’s military successes in recent months, said his ammunition-starved troops were the “cement” holding the front line together and the last line of defense to prevent a Ukrainian victory .

“Today, Wagner is the cement that, as I said before, holds the Ukrainian army in place — crushing it, destroying it, and preventing it from deploying to other regions and occupying other fronts.

“We are also moving forward and the [Russian] army is forced to follow us to save their face and bolster their reputation… If the Wagner group retreats, the following situation will arise.

“It is clear that the front will crumble, the front will crumble before the Russian borders, perhaps it will crumble even further.”

Prigozhin, whose mercenary group has played a major role in Russia’s military successes in recent months, said his ammunition-starved troops were the “cement” holding the frontline together.

Ukrainian soldiers fire a self-propelled howitzer at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers fire a self-propelled howitzer at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers fire a self-propelled howitzer at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Ukrainian soldier sits in a trench near Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Ukrainian soldier sits in a trench near Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Ukrainian soldier sits in a trench near Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

The fighting around Bakhmut has led to World War I-style trench warfare, with both sides firing artillery at each other while sheltering in trenches

The fighting around Bakhmut has led to World War I-style trench warfare, with both sides firing artillery at each other while sheltering in trenches

The fighting around Bakhmut has led to World War I-style trench warfare, with both sides firing artillery at each other while sheltering in trenches

Prigozhin made the comments in a four-minute video published this weekend by a Wagner-linked Telegram channel.

Earlier last week, he claimed his units had “virtually surrounded” Bakhmut – a focal point of the conflict in Donetsk, where fighting has intensified over the past week with Russian forces attacking from almost all sides.

But on Sunday he complained that most of the ammunition promised to his troops by Moscow in February had not yet been shipped.

“For now, we’re trying to figure out the reason: is it plain bureaucracy or betrayal?” Prigozhin asked on his usual press service Telegram channel.

The mercenary chief regularly criticizes Russia’s defense chiefs and top generals, and last month accused embattled Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and others of “treason” for withholding ammunition supplies from his militias.

In his weekend video, Prigozhin said his troops feared Moscow wanted to use them as a possible scapegoat if Russia lost the war.

‘If Wagner withdraws from Bakhmut, that’s how history will remember us. A group of mercenaries led by Prigozhin convinced President Putin of its necessity … then they fell back, and the Ukrainian army broke into the territory of the Luhansk People’s Republic, wiped out Luhansk, wiped out Krasnodon and entered the territory of Russia.

“If we go back, we will forever go down in history as the people who took the most important step to lose the war. This is exactly the problem we have now – we are starved of ammunition.

‘[My fighters] come to me and they say: “chief, can someone in the depths of the Ministry of Defense, or maybe even higher, explain to the whole Russian people why we had so many problems?”

“What if they want to frame us and say we’re villains, and say that’s why we don’t get ammunition and guns?”

A Ukrainian soldier in a trench under Russian shelling on the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Ukrainian soldier in a trench under Russian shelling on the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Ukrainian soldier in a trench under Russian shelling on the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers ride in an infantry fighting vehicle along a road not far from Bakhmut, Donetsk region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine on March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers ride in an infantry fighting vehicle along a road not far from Bakhmut, Donetsk region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine on March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers ride in an infantry fighting vehicle along a road not far from Bakhmut, Donetsk region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine on March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers fire a self-propelled howitzer at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers fire a self-propelled howitzer at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers fire a self-propelled howitzer at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia's Wagner mercenary army, speaks in Paraskoviivka, Ukraine in this still image from an undated video released March 3, 2023

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia's Wagner mercenary army, speaks in Paraskoviivka, Ukraine in this still image from an undated video released March 3, 2023

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary army, speaks in Paraskoviivka, Ukraine in this still image from an undated video released March 3, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers light a fire with gunpowder to get warm near the city of Bakhmut in the Donbas region on March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers light a fire with gunpowder to get warm near the city of Bakhmut in the Donbas region on March 5, 2023

Ukrainian soldiers light a fire with gunpowder to get warm near the city of Bakhmut in the Donbas region on March 5, 2023

The Wagner group has been at the center of Russian military effectiveness on Ukraine’s front lines for months, after launching a massive recruitment drive in Russian prisons last year.

The group used human wave tactics, bringing in underarmed and undertrained men to absorb Ukrainian resources before deploying better armed and trained mercenaries to tear down Ukraine’s weary fighters.

But since the demotion of Sergei Surovikin – an army general close to Prigozhin who previously commanded Russia’s armed forces – in December, Wagner has been short of ammunition and support.

This has led to suspicions that Russian military commander Valery Gerasimov and Shoigu isolate the mercenaries and condemn them to failure, while masking their own army’s woeful achievements.

It comes as an intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defense claimed that Russia is now deploying 60-year-old armored vehicles to the front lines, despite heavy casualties.

“The Russian military has continued to respond to heavy armored vehicle losses by deploying 60-year-old T-62 main battle tanks (MBT)… In recent days, Russian BTR-50 armored cars, first deployed in 1954, have also first deployed in Ukraine,” the update reads, adding that despite upgrades, the vehicles will be heavily outnumbered and outmaneuvered.

“As of summer 2022, about 800 T-62s have been taken out of storage and some have received upgraded sighting systems that will most likely improve their effectiveness at night.

“However, both vintage vehicle types will have many vulnerabilities on the modern battlefield, including the absence of modern explosive reactive armor.”

A local resident walks past a damaged church and a destroyed Russian tank in the city of Svyatogirsk, Donetsk region, on March 1, 2023

A local resident walks past a damaged church and a destroyed Russian tank in the city of Svyatogirsk, Donetsk region, on March 1, 2023

A local resident walks past a damaged church and a destroyed Russian tank in the city of Svyatogirsk, Donetsk region, on March 1, 2023

A destroyed tank is photographed in the village of Tsupivka, Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine

A destroyed tank is photographed in the village of Tsupivka, Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine

A destroyed tank is photographed in the village of Tsupivka, Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the exiled mayor of Melitopol – a city in the southern province of Zaporizhia – claimed that a Ukrainian attack on two Russian military bases likely killed dozens of Putin’s troops.

Ivan Fedorov told Ukrainian TV on Sunday that two powerful explosions had been heard in the northern part of the occupied city of Melitopol, one of the first cities in Ukraine to be occupied when Russian forces launched their invasion in February 2022.

“In occupied Melitopol, powerful explosions were heard, two enemy bases were destroyed,” Fedorov said.

According to the mayor, Russian losses from the strike “run into hundreds of people, but the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will provide more detailed information.”

“Today is a weekend of hell for them, just like the whole last week of hell,” Fedorov declared.

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