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ISW: Prigozhin continues to convince Kremlin to go on defensive in eastern Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 30, 2023 6:49 AM 1 min read
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Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin said in an interview with a Kremlin-affiliated military blogger on April 29 that the Ukrainian counteroffensive could take place before May 15 but that the Russian military is not rushing to prepare to repel attacks.

The Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update that Prigozhin once again claimed that the Wagner mercenaries will continue to fight in Bakhmut but will need to “withdraw in an organized manner or stay and die” if the situation does immediately not improve.

The mercenary chief has often complained about ammunition shortages over the past several months. The oligarch warlord entered into a public feud with Shoigu, accusing regular Russian forces of stealing credit for Wagner’s partially successful assault against Bakhmut. Wagner took a leading role in attacking the city, where brutal fighting has claimed heavy casualties on both sides.

"Prigozhin’s threat to withdraw from Bakhmut may also indicate that Prigozhin fears that the Russian positions in Bakhmut’s rear are vulnerable to counterattacks," the ISW said.

Prigozhin claimed that Wagner and Deputy Commander of Russian Forces in Ukraine Army General Sergei Surovikin developed a plan to “grind” the Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut that deprived Ukraine of its initiative on the battlefield.

The ISW believes that Prigozhin is likely attempting to "regain access to more ammunition" as Putin is once again reshuffling the Russian military leadership in a way that may favor Prigozhin.

BBC confirms identities of 21,700 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine in 14 months of the war
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