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    Russian Military Chiefs Held Responsible for Casualties in Ukraine Conflict, says Wagner Chief

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    Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian paramilitary leader, has threatened to withdraw troops from Bakhmut, Ukraine, where they are fighting against Ukrainian forces. In a series of videos, Prigozhin blamed Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov for the deaths and injuries suffered by Russian fighters in Ukraine. He accused them of failing to provide his mercenary group, Wagner, with enough ammunition. Wagner has been leading the Russian assault on Bakhmut and almost captured the city in a long and bloody battle. Prigozhin has made similar threats to withdraw troops in the past, but his latest comments contained unprecedented criticism of Russia’s military leaders.

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    Prigozhin stated that he will pull out Wagner units from Bakhmut as they are facing death without ammunition. He expects the military to provide a plan for the withdrawal. Russia is still trying to take control of Bakhmut before World War II Victory Day celebrations on May 9. Ukraine is preparing for a major offensive against Russian forces, with sabotage attacks and long-distance strikes behind Russian lines being planned. On Friday, a fire broke out at an oil refinery in southern Russia, following a drone attack on the same facility. Russia has also evacuated 70,000 people living near the front line in southern Ukraine, citing an intensification of shelling on residential areas by Ukraine.

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    Prigozhin’s videos showed rows of dead Wagner fighters, who he said died due to a lack of ammunition. He accused Shoigu and Gerasimov of being responsible for their deaths and criticised them for sitting in their “expensive clubs” while others died for their country. Prigozhin has close links to President Vladimir Putin and helped Russian troops advance in Ukraine after a series of setbacks.

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