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Mercenary boss: Chechen troops to replace Wagner Group in Bakhmut on May 10

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 6, 2023 5:18 PM 1 min read
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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.

Read also: Russia’s key attack force, Wagner Group, embroiled in conflict with regular army

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ISW: Russia holds offensive initiative.

"Russian forces have regained the theater-wide initiative and will be able to pursue offensive operations when and where they choose as long as they hold the initiative," the ISW said.
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