Ukraine updates: Wagner head says heavy losses in Bakhmut

Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said Russia needs to desperately provide his troops with ammunition. Meanwhile, Ukraine urged more German military aid. DW has more.

April 29, 2023

The head of Russia’s mercenary Wagner Group threatened to withdraw his troops from the embattled city of Bakhmut in Ukraine amid heavy casualties.

Yevgeny Prigozhin told military blogger Semyon Pegov losses were five times higher than necessary because of the lack of artillery ammunition.

“Every day, we have stacks of thousands of bodies that we put in coffins and send home,” Prigozhin said in the interview published on Saturday. 

He had written to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu asking for supplies. “If the ammunition deficit is not replenished, we are forced, in order not to run like cowardly rats afterwards, to either withdraw or die.”

Wagner has been spearheading Russia’s assault on Bakhmut but Ukrainian defenders have been able to hold onto part of the city. 

Casualties are high on both sides.

Prigozhin had previously claimed that the Russian military was withholding ammunition from his soldiers.

He charged ammunition stockpiles were withheld because of “treason” by Russian officials.

Last week he expressed concern about a counter-attack by well-equipped Ukrainian troops at Bakhmut.

More German military aid needed ‘urgently’

Ukraine is appealing for Germany to quickly send more air defense systems, tanks and ammunition, Kyiv’s top diplomat to Germany said in an interview published on Saturday.

Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev said the heavy weapons and equipment are needed as Ukraine’s military prepares to launch a counteroffensive to retake territory seized by Russian troops.

“More air defense systems — like the IRIS-T, Patriot and Gepard — are needed most urgently,” Makeiev told the newspapers of Germany’s Funke media group.

“For the planned counteroffensive, we need more armored vehicles, tanks and artillery systems, long-range ammunition in the shortest possible time,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also urged allies to help bolster air defense systems following a series of deadly Russian missile strikes on Friday. At least 25 people were killed in the attacks on residential areas, including several children.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s military was able to shoot down many of the Russian missiles but that the strikes show “that we can stop terror and save people only with weapons.”

So far, Germany has delivered 18 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks, 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 34 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks — as well as Patriot and IRIS-T air defense systems.

Ukraine protests Warsaw agricultural bans

Ukraine has protested what it described as “categorically unacceptable” bans against the transit of its agricultural produce through neighboring Poland, as the war continues to challenge produce routes out of the country.

The Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that it sent a formal note to the Polish and European Union representatives in the country a day before regarding the bans.

Poland and other Ukrainian neighbors have recently imposed temporary trade barriers on grains and other goods. The bans followed protests by local farming after a drop in the prices of local produce.

“There are full legal grounds for the immediate resumption of exports of Ukrainian agricultural goods to Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria, as well as the continuation of unhindered exports to other EU member states,” the Ukrainian ministry said.

Meanwhile on Friday, the EU announced reaching an agreement “in principle” with Ukraine’s neighbors Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia regarding the passage of produce.

Russia: Huge fire at Crimea fuel depot after drone strike

Russian authorities in annexed Crimea reported a massive fire at a fuel depot in the military port city of Sevastopol early on Saturday. 

“According to preliminary information, it was caused by a drone strike,” said the Russian-installed governor of the peninsula, Mikhail Razvozhayev. 

He said that a level four alert, the highest available, had been activated. 

Russian authorities in annexed Crimea reported a massive fire at a fuel depot in Sevastopol.Image: Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhaev telegram channel/AP/dpa/picture allianc

Razvozhayev said that “these reserves were not used for petrol station deliveries,” and thus the fire would not threaten fuel supplies, suggesting the depot was used for military purposes. 

Razvozhayev said that civilian infrastructure had not been threatened and 18 firefighting units had been deployed.

He did not say whether the drone he cited as causing the fire was Ukrainian.

Ukraine has not acknowledged involvement in any of several attacks in Crimea since  Russia’s full scale invasion of the rest of Ukraine last year, sometimes implying a domestic insurgency.

Ukrainian military intelligence spokesperson Andriy Yusov told the Ukrainian RBC website that the blast was “God’s punishment” to Russia for its deadly attacks on Ukrainian cities the prior day. Yusov said the detonation destroyed over 10 tanks of oil products, with a total capacity of some 40,000 tons. 

Yusov, however, did not explicitly say that Ukraine was responsible for the explosion.    

One comment

  1. “If the ammunition deficit is not replenished, we are forced, in order not to run like cowardly rats afterwards, to either withdraw or die.”

    First, you are cowardly rats, second, you will die.

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