Once a secretive mercenary leader, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin now operates openly, posting messages from inside Ukraine as part of Russia's invasion force


  • Prigozhin said Russian troops withdrew from their positions in Bakhmut
  • He is urging Russian military leadership not to 'give up' on its flanks in Bakhmut
  • Ukraine has gained about 150 to 1,700 meters of territory in the embattled city

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of Russia's Wagner private military company (PMC) and an ally of President Vladimir Putin, has admitted that it is unlikely they could surround Ukrainian forces in the embattled city of Bakhmut.

Prigozhin made the statement in an audio message published on his Telegram account, as translated by The Kyiv Post.

"Despite the fact that the enemy has only a few percent of the territory in Bakhmut, surrounding the enemy does not appear to be possible," he said.

In addition, Prigozhin also slammed the Russian army for withdrawing from positions in Bakhmut, claiming that its decision to pull back from certain positions has exposed the Wagner group's flanks and could lead to its collapse. Prigozhin then addressed the Russian army's leadership, asking them not to "give up the flanks."

"I am addressing the top leadership of the Defense Ministry publicly because my letters are not being read. I have a request to you, Valeriy Vasilyevich (Gerasimov) and Sergey Kuzhugetovich (Shoigu), please don't give up the flanks, don't denudate the settlements for a few more days, keep pushing as hard as you can," he added. "Do everything in your power to keep the flanks from collapsing."

Prigozhin's comments come after Ukrainian forces have seen a string of successes over the last couple of weeks, penetrating about 150 to 1,700 meters into the Russian army's territories in some areas in Bakhmut, per military spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi.

Prigozhin had said last week that Bakhmut is "unlikely" to fall to Russian forces in the coming days.

"Bakhmut is unlikely to be completely taken tomorrow or the day after tomorrow," Prigozhin wrote on Telegram, as translated by Barrons. "Bakhmut has not yet been taken. There is a suburb called 'samolet'. It is an impregnable fortress formed from a range of apartment blocks, located in the south-west of Bakhmut. The toughest battles are going on there right now."

The battle of Bakhmut has been the bloodiest and longest fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops since Moscow invaded the country on Feb. 24, 2022.

Prigozhin has been increasingly scathing in his criticism of the Russian military