Ukraine-Russia news – latest: Wagner chief warns Putin his troops will leave Bakhmut next week

The head of Russia‘s Wagner mercenary group has warned Vladimir Putin he will be withdrawing his troops from the eastern city of Bakhmut over a lack of military support from Moscow.

The group founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin – a Putin ally – has been spearheading Russia’s attempt to capture the city in what has become the longest and bloodiest battle of Russia’s 14-month invasion.

However, on Friday he said: “I declare on behalf of the Wagner fighters, on behalf of the Wagner command, that on 10 May, we are obliged to transfer positions in the settlement of Bakhmut to units of the defence ministry and withdraw the remains of Wagner… to lick our wounds.

“I’m pulling Wagner units out of Bakhmut because in the absence of ammunition they’re doomed to perish senselessly.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr Prigozhin appeared in a video surrounded by dozens of corpses he said were Wagner fighters. He swore at Kremlin’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the chief of the general staff of the armed forces, Valery Gerasimov, blaming them for battlefield losses.

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