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‘They’re dying so you can get fat in your offices.’ In graphic video, shouting obscenities, mercenary group leader condemns Russia’s military command for ammo shortages.
Shouting obscenities and standing in front of rows of dead and bloodied bodies, Wagner Group paramilitary cartel head Evgeny Prigozhin delivered his boldest challenge yet to Russia’s military leaders, directly addressing Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and the country’s most senior general, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, blaming them and Russia’s elites generally for setbacks in Bakhmut (where Wagner Group has been fighting at heavy costs for months). In a graphic video uploaded to Telegram, Prigozhin says repeatedly that 70 percent of his mercenary group’s ammo needs have not been supplied:
You scum sit there in your expensive clubs. Your kids are all getting off on life, recording their little YouTube videos. You think you’re masters of this life. You think, if you have stockpiles of ammunition, then you have a right to it. We’re talking about basic calculations: if you hand over the ammo quota, there’d be five times fewer [dead]. [These men] came here as volunteers, and they’re dying so you can get fat in your offices of rich mahogany. These are somebody’s fucking fathers. Somebody’s sons. And those scum who aren’t giving [us] the ammunition will fucking eat their fucking guts in hell. We’re 70-percent short on ammo. Shoigu, Gerasimov, where’s the fucking ammo? Fucking look at them!
Evgeny Prigozhin’s role in the invasion of Ukraine has been the subject of intense debate since Russia turned to Wagner Group to recruit thousands of prison inmates for battle. The paramilitary cartel has been the primary force responsible for Russia’s assault on the city of Bakhmut, most of which is now under Russian control. Sparring with regional leaders back in Russia (particularly St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov) and senior military commanders, Prigozhin has been one of Russia’s few public figures who openly criticizes top officials during the war. With each outburst against figures like Shoigu and Gerasimov, speculation grows that Prigozhin hopes to build political capital for the next chapter in his career, wherever that might take him.
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