Chechen leader calls Russian Wagner troops ‘cannon fodder’

Squabbles have broken out in the Russian ranks with Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov criticising the leader of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin for taking to social media to complain about ammunition supplies for his soldiers. Vladimir Putin’s top military brass came under fire in an extraordinary rant from Prigozhin this week as he was filmed seemingly surrounded by dead bodies before yelling at the camera: “We have a 70 percent ammo shortage! Shoigu! Gerasimov! Where the f*** is the ammo?”

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The once-feared Wagner Group have been bogged down in months of fighting with Ukrainian forces defending the city of Bakhmut in one of the bloodiest ongoing battles since the invasion began.

Prigozhin threatened to withdraw his men from the key battleground if military equipment did not arrive.

According to Ukrainian newspaper, Ukrainska Pravda, the warlord Kadyrov is unhappy with Prigozhin speaking out publicly about supply chain problems with the Russian command. He said his own troops, known as Kadyrovites, could replace the Wagner units.

On Telegram Kadyrov said: “If elder brother Prigozhin and his Wagner withdraw, the General Staff will lose an experienced combat unit. But younger brother Kadyrov and his Akhmat (battalion) will replace it in Bakhmut.”

But he said: “It is wrong to film the bodies of one’s killed brothers-in-arms to make a public splash. Let’s never do that.”

The Chechen leader claimed that the Russian Ministry of Defence and General Staff always helped and supported his units, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

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Prigozhin claimed that the reason he was withdrawing his fighters was because the Russian Ministry of Defence he did not want his people to be “doomed to senseless death” like cannon fodder.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine are reportedly sceptical about the claim made by the leader that his fighters will supposedly start leaving Bakhmut.

Prigozhin, who received a 12-year prison term in 1981 on charges of robbery and assault, started a restaurant business in St. Petersburg in the early 1990s following his release from prison. It was in this capacity that he got to know Putin, the city’s deputy mayor at the time.

He used his connection with Putin to develop a catering business and won lucrative Russian government contracts that earned him the nickname “Putin’s chef.” He later expanded into other areas, including media outlets and an infamous “troll factory” that led to his indictment in the U.S. for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In January, Prigozhin, 61, acknowledged founding, leading and financing the shadowy Wagner company.

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