A Ukrainian special unit member prepares his weapon in woods near Bakhmut


  • Prigozhin warned that cutting off Wagner group would have negative effects on Russia's invasion of Ukraine
  • He said Ukraine may launch a counteroffensive by the end of March or start of April
  • Ukraine is destroying elite Russian units in the battle for Bakhmut

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Russia's infamous Wagner private military company (PMC), has again asked the Russian military for help in the battle for the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut in anticipation of a counteroffensive from Ukraine.

In a letter addressed to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Prigozhin asked the Russian military to "take all necessary measures" to prevent the Wagner group from being cut off from the country's armed forces amid plans among Ukraine's ranks "to launch a large-scale offensive" near Bakhmut.

"According to the available information, the enemy plans to launch a large-scale offensive at the end of March or beginning of April and carry out flanking cutting attacks, with the aim of cutting off the units of the Wagner Group PMC from the main forces of the Russian Armed Forces," Prigozhin wrote in the letter, as translated by Ukrainska Pravda.

"I ask you to take all necessary measures to prevent the Wagner PMC from being cut off from the main forces of the Russian Armed Forces, which will have negative effects for the 'special military operation' [the official term used by Russians to describe the ongoing war with Ukraine – ed.]," he continued.

In the letter, Priogzhin did not explain how he came to know about Ukraine's alleged plan to launch an offensive. He also said he had prepared a counter for the strike but did not attach the said plan to the letter.

His letter comes after Hanna Maliar, Deputy Minister of Defense for Ukraine, said that Ukrainian forces are destroying the most professional Russian units in the battle for control of the city of Bakhmut.

"The defense of Bakhmut provides an opportunity to reduce the enemy's offensive potential. Our troops there do not allow the enemy forces to proceed," Maliar said in a 24/7 newscast. "Unfortunately, we suffered losses on our side during this time. At the same time, the enemy's losses are much higher, and we are destroying the hostile's most professional units, i.e., the Wagner [Group] units, sent to surround Bakhmut."

Maliar also said Ukrainian forces are making progress in certain areas in Bakhmut. Ukraine is believed to have already killed up to 30,000 Wagner mercenaries in the battle for the city.

Members of the Ukrainian special unit stand in the woods near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine