Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s mercenary Wagner group, continues to urge the Kremlin to have Russian forces move to defence in eastern Ukraine, writes the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in its latest analysis.
On Saturday, Prigozhin threatened to withdraw Wagner Group forces from Bakhmut in the Donbas if the company did not receive more ammunition, ISW reports. He said the mercenaries would continue fighting in Bakhmut, but if the situation with ammunition did not improve, they would have to “withdraw in an organised manner or stay and die”.
According to analysts, Prigozhin may use the next reshuffle in the Russian command to gain access to more ammunition. Personnel changes may be in the businessman’s favour.
Experts point out that the head of the Wagner group is still trying to convince the Kremlin to go on the defensive in eastern Ukraine. Prigozhin has stated that the Russian military is in no hurry to prepare to repel attacks.
“Prigozhin’s threat to withdraw from Bakhmut may also indicate that Prigozhin fears that the Russian positions in Bakhmut’s rear are vulnerable to counterattacks,” ISW concludes.
‘Road of life’
Yesterday, on the other hand, the spokesman for the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty, reported that Russian forces are far from capturing the ‘road of life’ from the town of Czasiv Yar to Bakhmut. This route is used to deliver medicine, food and armaments to the city’s defenders.
The Russians have been talking about seizing the ‘road of life’ for several weeks now, as well as constant fire control over it. Things really are different. Yes, things are indeed tough there, as their attempts to seize the road continue, as do their attempts to establish fire control. But thanks to the soldiers of the Special Operations Forces, artillerymen, the Defence Forces do not let the Russians “cut” our logistics,” Cherevaty said in a comment to the ZN.UA portal.
The spokesman notified that although heavy fighting is going on, there is no panic or lack of control on the part of the Ukrainian troops. He added that the Russian command is now throwing subdivisions of the airborne forces into the fight, as the Wagner Group mercenaries are already missing.
“The Russians are doing everything to destroy the city’s infrastructure as much as possible to make the defence of Bakhmut more difficult,” Cherevaty said.
Russian troops have been trying to occupy Bakhmut in the Donetsk region since August 2022. Some of the heaviest and bloodiest fighting in Russia’s war with Ukraine is currently taking place there. Despite predictions that the command in Kyiv may decide to withdraw from the city, Ukrainian troops are continuing to defend Bakhmut.