The head of the Wagner group mercenaries, Yevgueni Prigozhin, considered that Bakhmut, the epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine, will not fall before “March or April” due to the “monstrous military bureaucracy” that slows down the offensive in Ukraine.
Just days after the one-year anniversary of the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine on February 24, Moscow forces have intensified their assault in the east in recent weeks. «I think it will be in March or April. To take Bakhmut, we need cut all routes sourcing,” Wagner group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a video posted on Telegram on Wednesday night. “I think we would have taken Bakhmut if it weren’t for this monstrous military bureaucracy, and if they didn’t hinder us every day,” Prigozhin criticized, in another video.
According to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the fact that the Wagner group can no longer recruit prisoners to go to the front in exchange for amnesty is a “bleed” for his organization. “At any given moment, the number of units will go down and, consequently, the volume of tasks that we want to execute” will also go down, he said.
The paramilitary organization has been leading the offensive against Bakhmut for months. has recruited a good number of detainees to go to fight in the Ukraine. On February 9, Prigozhin announced that such recruitment had ceased. Once discreet, Wagner’s boss was long an inseparable ally of the Kremlin, for whom he carried out some commissions.
symbol for both sides
The fighting around Bakhmut has increased since the end of 2022, but the Russians continue to make little progress, despite the fact that they took several towns in January and February. Experts wonder to what extent this town is strategically important, which had 70,000 inhabitants before the offensive. Over time, it has become a symbol for both sides.
With the first anniversary of the conflict imminent, kyiv suspects that Moscow is preparing a new major assault. In a sign of the difficulties facing the Russians on the front lines, the Kremlin has changed command of military operations several times in the past year. Since January, it is General Valeri Gerasimov, chief of the Army staff, who has led the troops.
Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to deliver a speech on February 21. For their part, the Westerners plan to hand over to Ukraine tanks, armored vehicles and missiles long-range missiles in the coming weeks to Ukraine, a weapon that could intensify the problems of the Russian army.