Wagner boss says mercenaries will continue to fight in Bakhmut, reversing earlier threat

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The Wagner Group, the Russian paramilitary group fighting against Ukraine, will continue to battle in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, after its chief criticized the Russian government and threatened to pull his troops from the city.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group, signaled on Sunday that his fighters would stay in the city, according to Politico. The decision comes after Prigozhin last week said his troops would leave.

Prigozhin said last week in a video posted on the social media platform Telegram that his soldiers were “doomed to senseless death” because the Russian government was not giving them the ammunition they needed.

“By not giving us shells, you are not depriving us of victory, you are depriving the people of Russia of victory,” Prigozhin said in the video. “We will lick our wounds, and when the Motherland is in danger, we will rise again to defend it. The Russian people can count on us.”

Bakhmut, a city in the eastern Ukrainian territory of Donetsk, has been the site of prolonged fighting in the war as Russian forces have pounded away at the city, making little progress while losing scores of troops and resources. The Wagner Group has led the push in the city.

Prigozhin argued in the video last week that Wagner Group and Russian forces should have been able to take over the city by this month, but claimed “bureaucrats” had cut off artillery support. He also said the Russian government had exaggerated the number of troops it has publicly said have been allocated to fight around the city.

“The named number of troops is very different from the real one, there are a lot of additions: instead of tens of thousands there are tens and rarely hundreds of soldiers,” Prigozhin said.

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