Standing in a field of corpses, Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin on Friday published an expletive-ridden video personally blaming top defence chiefs for losses suffered by his Wagner Group fighters in Ukraine.
Prigozhin’s tirade reignited and escalated a long-running feud with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, whom he has repeatedly accused of starving his forces of ammunition.
Prigozhin appeared next to dozens of bloodied corpses that he said were those of Wagner fighters. His expletives were bleeped out in the video published by his press service.
“We have a 70% shortage of ammunition. Shoigu! Gerasimov! Where is the ******* ammunition?” he yelled into the camera.
Those responsible would go to hell, Prigozhin shouted, before saying that Wagner’s losses would be five times smaller if it was adequately supplied.
“These are Wagner lads who died today. The blood is still fresh,” Prigozhin said, pointing to the corpses around him. “They came here as volunteers and they’re dying so you can get fat in your offices.”
Prigozhin, whose Wagner Group has spearheaded Russia’s months-long assault on the east Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, began publicly feuding with defence chiefs last year, accusing them of incompetence, and of deliberately depriving Wagner of ammunition out of personal animosity towards him.
In recently weeks, Prigozhin had refrained from public attacks on Shoigu, even as he continued to suggest that deliberate ammunition shortages had exacerbated Wagner casualty figures.