Wagner mercenaries are believed to be leading the fight for Bakhmut


  • Prigozhin said many Russian troops abandoned their positions due to the 'stupidity' of military leadership
  • The Wagner leader claimed Russian generals are trying to deceive Putin amid the 14-month long war
  • He added that the Russian Defense Ministry threatened to charge him with treason if he pulls back from Bakhmut

Wagner chief Yevgeny Priogzhin on Tuesday slammed the Russian military for its "stupidity" and efforts to "deceive" President Vladimir Putin as the war in Ukraine extends into its 15th month.

In a video posted on his Telegram channel, Prigozhin questioned the Russian army's ability to defend itself against Ukraine's anticipated counteroffensive as many of its troops abandoned their positions due to weak leadership.

"Today, everything is being done so that the front line crumbles. Today, one of the defense ministry's units fled one of our flanks, abandoning their positions. Everyone fled," he said in the video, as translated by Al Jazeera. "A soldier shouldn't die because of his leaders' absolute stupidity. The commands they receive from the top are absolutely criminal."

He also claimed that Russian generals are trying to deceive Putin as the military leadership continues to withhold ammunition from Wagner forces fighting in the embattled city of Bakhmut in Ukraine's Donbas region.

"This is really bad. If it goes on like this, we will not be able to fight," Prigozhin said, as translated by Politico. "If all the tasks are being carried out in such a way as to deceive the commander-in-chief, then either he will rip your arse or the Russian people, who will be angry if the war is lost, will."

Also on Tuesday, Prigozhin revealed he received a letter from the Russian Defense Ministry threatening to brand him and his group as traitors and charge them with treason if they withdraw from the battle in Bakhmut amid shortages in ammunition supply.

The threat from the Russian Defense Ministry comes after Prigozhin last week claimed Wagner troops would pull back from Bakhmut if they do not receive ammunition and weapons to use in the fight from the Kremlin. He later backtracked on his statement, adding that the Kremlin gave him assurances that they would get the requested ammunition and gear.

Wagner has taken a lead role in Russia's attempts to take over the city of Bakhmut since the summer of 2022. The city has not been fully seized by Russia even as both sides suffered the loss of thousands of lives.

Founder of Wagner private mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin makes a statement in an undisclosed location