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Wagner mercenary group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin accused "representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry" of placing mines along Wagner troops' exit routes from Bakhmut.
Responding to a question on the Telegram channel for his press service, Prigozhin said that 99% of Wagner troops had withdrawn from Bakhmut since claiming on May 20 that they had captured the city and begun handing over positions to the regular Russian army.
Kyiv has not formally acknowledged the fall of Bakhmut, but both official statements and reports from soldiers on the ground shared with the Kyiv Independent depict a similar scenario.
According to Prigozhin, there were explosive devices placed in around a dozen locations along Wagner troops' exit routes, including "hundreds" of anti-tank mines.
"We conducted investigative actions jointly with law enforcement agencies to document everything. Currently, investigations are underway," Prigozhin said.
Those who placed the explosive devices were "representatives of the Russian defense ministry."
"When asked why they did it, they pointed their fingers upward," Prigozhin added, suggesting that the orders came from higher-ranking officials.
There was "no need" to place the mines to hold back Ukrainian forces in those locations, according to Prigozhin, leading him to believe that they were intended as "public chastisement" for Wagner forces.
Prigozhin's years-long feud with the Russian Defense Ministry became even more public during the Battle of Bakhmut as he blamed them in numerous tirades for not supplying enough ammunition and failing to achieve the primary objectives of Russia's war in Ukraine.