Some men just want to watch the world burn
Wagner's Prigozhin posts graphic, profanity-filled video blaming Russia's military for his dead mercenaries
Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group paramilitary army, has been feuding with Russia's military leaders for months, pointedly accusing the Ministry of Defense of deliberately denying his fighters the shells and bullets they need to finally grind out a victory in the ruins of the Ukrainian city of Bahkmut. In recent days, he has threatened to pull his mercenaries out of Bakhmut if he doesn't get more ammunition.
On Thursday night Prigozhin sharpened the feud, posting a video of a field of bloody fighters he said died on Thursday and blaming Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and armed forces chief Gen. Valery Gerasimov for their deaths. "Shoigu! Gerasimov! Where are the f--king shells!" he shouted, according to CNN's translation. "These are someone's f--king fathers and someone's sons. And you f--kers who aren't giving [us] ammunition, you bitches, will have your guts eaten out in hell!"
"You sit there in your luxury clubs, your kids are addicted to shooting clips for YouTube," Prigozhin continued. "You think you are the masters of this life? You think you can dispose of their lives? If you have warehouses full of ammunition, then you do." He said the Wagner fighters, many of whom were recruited from prisons to kill Ukrainians, "came here as volunteers and are dying so you can sit like fat cats in your luxury offices."
Wagner, CNN notes, is "known for its disregard for the lives of its own soldiers," sending untrained and lightly armed recruits to their likely deaths in the battle for Bakhmut — the U.S. estimates that half the 20,000 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine since December are Wagner mercenaries. And this isn't an entirely new tactic for Prigozhin. In February, Prigozhin posted a video of a pile of Wagner corpses and obliquely accused Shoigu and Gerasimov of "treason," then claimed the next day that requested ammunition was coming.
This time, Russia may not have much ammunition to spare.
Russia's lack of munitions and manpower means it probably won't be able to mount "significant offensive operation this year" in Ukraine, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. "In fact, if Russia does not initiate a mandatory mobilization and secure substantial third-party ammunition supplies beyond existing deliveries from Iran and others, it will be increasingly challenging for them to sustain even modest offensive operations."