HomeMiddle EastWagner boss says Russian forces laid mines to harm his fighters

Wagner boss says Russian forces laid mines to harm his fighters

The head of the mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, says Russian defense officials planted explosives on the Wagner fighters’ retreat route from the town of Bakhmut.

the head of Russian Wagner mercenary forceYevgeny Prigozhin, has continued his months-long war of words with the leadership of the Russian armed forces by accusing pro-Moscow forces of planting explosives to harm his fighters as they retreated from Bakhmut.

Prigozhin made his claims on Friday when Wagner’s mercenaries had largely withdrawn from the east. Ukrainian city of Bakhmut after months of bloody fighting and a large number of dead. Wagner’s positions in the destroyed village they were handed over to the Russian army, he said.

Writing on Telegram, Prigozhin said his men had discovered a dozen locations in the rear where Russian Defense Ministry officials had planted various explosive devices, including hundreds of anti-tank mines.

When asked why the mines and explosives were laid, Defense Ministry officials indicated that it was an order from their superiors, Prigozhin said.

“It was not necessary to place these charges to deter the enemy, since (the area in question) is in the rear,” he said.

“Therefore, we can assume that these charges were intended to meet Wagner’s advancing units,” Prigozhin said.

None of the charges were fired and no one was injured, he added.

“We assume this was an attempted public flogging.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Prigozhin complained for months that Russia’s top brass did not provide his men with enough ammunition for the assault on Bakhmut and claimed that his fighters were being discriminated against.

Wagner’s chief’s often expletive-laden criticism of Russian military leadership was criticized by another pro-Moscow commander who has fought in Ukraine, which could be a sign of growing fissures between the Kremlin’s allied forces in the war.

Addressing Prigozhin in a video message on Thursday, and using the diminutive of “Zhenya” and the familiar Russian form of you (“ty”), Adam Delimkhanov, close ally of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, present Wagner’s boss as a blogger who yells all the time.

Chechen special forces fighters, led by Russian State Duma member Adam Delimkhanov, walk near the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, in April 2022 (File: Chingis Kondarov/Reuters )

“You have turned into a blogger who yells and yells at the whole world about all the problems,” Delimkhanov said. “Stop yelling and yelling and yelling,” he said.

“If you don’t understand, you can contact us and tell us the place and time. Me, we will explain to you what you do not understand,” Delimkhanov said in the message to Prigozhin.

The message then drew a swift rebuke from one of Wagner’s highest-ranking fighters, Dmitry Utkin, a former special forces officer who served in Russian military intelligence.

“Where did that familiarity come from? Who gave you the right to use the address ‘ty’ and ‘Zhenya’?” Utkin said in a message that Prigozhin reposted on Telegram.

“Certain citizens should be put against the wall because of the SHAME we have,” said Utkin.

“We are always ready to talk man to man,” he said.

Chechen leader Kadyrov had supported some of Prigozhin’s criticism of Russia’s top brass last year, but relations have grown estranged in recent months.

Kadyrov is also a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and recently refrained from echoing criticism of the Defense Ministry.

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