Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Kremlin-controlled mercenary group Wagner, said on May 6 that Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov's forces would replace Wagner troops in the city of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, when Wagner withdraws from the city on May 10.
Kadyrov said on May 5 that his troops were ready to replace Wagner mercenaries in Bakhmut.
Kadyrov’s announcement was made after Prigozhin recorded an insult-laden message to Russia's military leadership, complaining about ammunition shortages that had led to numerous casualties among Wagner troops in Bakhmut.
“I am contacting (Kadyrov’s) representatives to start transferring positions (to Kadyrov's troops) immediately so that on May 10, at 12 a.m., exactly at the moment when we estimate that we will have fully exhausted our combat potential, our comrades-in-arms could take our places and continue the assault on Bakhmut," Prigozhin said in a Telegram post.
He also claimed Ukrainian forces control "just over 2 square kilometers" of Bakhmut.
On May 5, Prigozhin announced that the mercenaries would withdraw from Bakhmut on May 10 due to shortages of ammunition, saying the Bakhmut offensive would be handed over to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Prigozhin has repeatedly complained about ammunition shortages, blaming Russia's military leadership and threatening to abandon positions in and around Bakhmut if Wagner mercenaries were denied additional supplies.
The Battle of Bakhmut has been raging on for almost a year. Russian troops have only made incremental gains, experiencing heavy casualties in the area.
Ukraine still holds western parts of the city.