Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries, in a video statement, May 4, 2023
Map: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 0851 GMT:
Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin has followed up his verbal attack on Kremlin officials with an ultimatum — give my mercenaries ammunition or we will leave the frontline Ukrainian city of Bakhmut next Wednesday.
I am officially addressing the Chief of the General Staff, the Minister of Defense, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. and the people of Russia.
I declare on behalf of the Wagner fighters, on behalf of the Wagner command, that on May 10, 2023, we are obliged to transfer positions in the settlement of Bakhmut to units of the Defense Ministry and withdraw the remains of Wagner to logistics camps to lick our wounds.
I’m withdrawing Wagner PMC units because without ammunition, they are doomed to a senseless death.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters about the video, “Of course, I saw it in the media, but I can’t comment as it concerns the special military operation.”
UPDATE 0807 GMT:
The latest Russian attacks across the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine have killed two civilians and injured five.
One civilian perished in the frontline city of Bakhmut. One person were killed and three wounded in the village of New York, and there were injuries in tthe city of Toretsk and the village of Mykolaivka.
UPDATE 0750 GMT:
In a blow to Moscow’s attempt for economic alternatives amid international sanctions, Russia and India have reportedly suspended negotiations for trade in rupees.
Sources said Moscow does not believe rupees are convertible and does not want to accumulate more $40 billion in the Indian currency by the end of 2023.
An Indian Government official said Russia would prefer to settle bilateral trade accounts with India in Chinese yuan or another currency such as United Arab Emirate dirhams.
India has been negotiating payment to Russia for spare parts and two S-400 air defense systems.
UPDATE 0744 GMT:
Russian State media says the Ilsky oil refinery in Russia’s Krasnodar region, across the Kerch Strait from Ukraine, has suffered a drone attack for the second consecutive day.
Emergency services say they put out a fire which covered 60 square meters.
Thursday’s attack by four drones started a blaze across 400 square meters.
UPDATE 0600 GMT:
Having put Ukraine and Russia on the same level of “strategic partnership”, China has maintained a careful distance from Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
Meeting Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said China is “willing to maintain communication and coordination with Russia to make tangible contributions to the political settlement of the crisis”.
The two sides agreed to strengthen communication and coordination with other SCO member-states and to maintain the bloc’s unity.
UPDATE 0543 GMT:
In his address in The Hague in the Netherlands on Thursday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for Vladimir Putin to face justice for Russian war crimes:
We all want to see a different Vladimir here in The Hague, the one who deserves to be sanctioned for his criminal actions here, in the capital of international law. The aggressor must feel the full power of justice. This is our historical responsibility.
The President emphasized the need for a special tribunal for war crimes alongside the International Criminal Court, as “only one institution is capable of responding to the original crime, the crime of aggression”.
Zelenskiy met leaders of the Dutch Parliament and held a joint press conference alongside the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands and Belgium.
He said that talks on accession to the European Union should begin this year, and that while Ukraine is already a de facto member of NATO, it should join the bloc formally. He also repeated his call for weapons to be sent to Kyiv as quickly as possible.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: The head of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has posted a vicious verbal attack — filled with gory images of his slain fighters and expletives — on Kremlin officials.
In the latest volley in his months-long battle for influence against the Russian Defense Ministry, Prigozhin stands by bodies whom he says are those of his men: “These guys here are Wagner PMC [Private Military Company] who died today. The blood is still fresh. Film all of them!”
He again calls for an adequate supply of munitions, with the implication that the mercenaries will withdraw from the frontline city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine if the deliveries are not made.
Addressing Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu and Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the overall commander of the invasion, Prigozhin says:
These are someone’s fucking fathers and someone’s sons. And you fuckers who aren’t giving [us] ammunition, you bitches, will have your guts eaten out in hell!
You sit there in your luxury clubs, your kids are addicted to shooting clips for YouTube. You think you are the masters of this life? You think you can dispose of their lives?
If you have warehouses full of ammunition, then you do.
The Kremlin has used Wagner since November for the “human wave” assaults on Bakhmut, seeking a symbolic victory in a city which now has little strategic value.
US intelligence estimates that the Russians, including Wagner, have suffered 100,000 casualties with more than 20,000 killed since then.
The mercenaries have finally claimed more than 80% of the center of Bakhmut, but have been able to take full control. A route from the west is still open, and the Ukrainian military said earlier this week that it regained a few blocks in the center.
Prigozhin told the Kremlin officials in the video:
This is simple math. If you give the normal amount of ammunition, there would be five times less [dead]. They came here as volunteers and are dying so you can sit like fat cats in your luxury offices.