Yevgeny Prigozhin made an unprecedented call on Russians to take his side in a high-profile conflict with the defence ministry


  • Prigozhin said the deaths were called by a deprivation of ammunition by Russia's military elite
  • Prigozhin previously accused the Russian military leadership of attempting to destroy Wagner group
  • The defense ministry dismissed Prigozhin's accusations as 'completely untrue'

Russian President Vladimir Putin's ally Yevgeny Prigozhin on Wednesday posted a gruesome photo showing the corpses of dead mercenaries who were killed in the war in Ukraine.

Prigozhin, founder of Russia's notorious Wagner private military company (PMC), also slammed Moscow's military elite and said they caused the deaths of the mercenaries after depriving his army of ammunition.

"They did not give us ammunition, and they still don't. It is now 10 o'clock in the morning on 22 February. No steps have been taken to issue ammunition. What is the problem? I will explain. I am posting a photo below. This is one of the gathering places of the dead. These are the guys who died yesterday due to the so-called shell famine. There should have been 5 times fewer of them," Prigozhin said, per a Telegram post published by his press office, as translated by Ukrainska Pravda.

Prigozhin also called out Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov for refusing to solve the problem of ammunition shortage in the frontline.

"Who is to blame for them dying? Those who should have resolved the issue of supplying us with sufficient quantities of ammunition are to blame," the Wagner group leader said, as translated by The Daily Beast.

Prigozhin's comments are the latest in a wave of accusations he has made against the Russian defense ministry this week. He previously accused the military leadership of deliberately attempting to destroy the Wagner group in an act of high treason, according to a voice message posted on his Telegram channel.

The defense ministry dismissed Prigozhin's accusations as "completely untrue" and said the accusations would only create splits in the Russian military that would work "solely to the benefit of the enemy," per Aljazeera.

The Wagner Group has played a significant role in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including spearheading the battle for the town of Bakhmut in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

The Wagner Group has also been reported to be recruiting prisoners from Russian penal colonies to join their ranks and fight in the war in Ukraine. As of January, it is believed Prigozhin is commanding at least 50,000 fighters in Ukraine, as estimated by the UK Ministry of Defense.

Putin Ally Yevgenii Prigozhin
Russian billionaire and businessman, Concord catering company owner Yevgeny Prigozhin Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images