In a dispute with Moscow over ammunition supplies for the Wagner mercenary group, their boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, threatens to withdraw from the heavily contested city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. Shortly thereafter, the Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov offered to send his own unit "Achmat" to Bakhmut if Prigozhin and his people withdrew from the village.
"Yes, if the older brother Prigozhin and "Wagner" go, then the General Staff will lose an experienced unit, and in their place could then come the little brother Kadyrov and "Akhmat", Kadyrov wrote yesterday on Telegram. His fighters are ready to go ahead and conquer the city. "It's just a matter of hours."
Prigozhin had announced that his mercenary units would be withdrawn next Wednesday. They would have to "lick their wounds". The 61-year-old cited high losses due to a lack of artillery support by the Russian armed forces as the cause and attacked the army leadership directly.
Russia is also using units from Chechnya in the war of aggression against Ukraine. They formally belong to the police and national guard, but in practice they primarily follow Kadyrov's command.
Ukraine: No signs of Wagner withdrawal from Bachmut
The Ukrainian military initially sees no signs that the Wagner mercenaries will soon be leaving Bakhmut. "These statements were made against the background that he will not be able to fulfill another promise to capture Bakhmut by May 9," military intelligence representative Andriy Chernyak told the RBK-Ukrayina news agency yesterday. Prigozhin is only trying to shift the responsibility onto others.
Contrary to what Prigozhin portrayed, the Ukrainian military sees no shortage of ammunition among the Russians. "Today alone there were 520 artillery fires of different types in Bakhmut and the surrounding area," said army spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyy. The actual background to Prigozhin's statements is the high losses of 100 and more dead per day by the mercenary troops.
According to Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar, the Ukrainian armed forces destroyed several ammunition depots of the Wagner troops near Bakhmut with artillery fire. The information could not be independently verified.
Heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine continues
Russian attackers and Ukrainian defenders engaged in heavy fighting again yesterday in eastern Ukraine. "The heaviest fighting is raging around Bakhmut and Marjinka," reported the Ukrainian general staff in its daily situation report. On these two front sections alone, almost 30 Russian attacks were repulsed yesterday. Both sides also fought heavy battles near Limansk.
Russia announces partial evacuation of areas close to the front
The Russian occupying power wants to evacuate areas close to the front in Zaporizhia in southern Ukraine. "The authorities of the Zaporizhia region have decided to temporarily move the residents of 18 front-line towns deeper into the region because of the increasing Ukrainian shelling," wrote the representative of the administration pro-Moscow, Vladimir Rogov, on his Telegram channel yesterday. Among other things, the city of Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant is located, is to be evacuated.
In addition, the residents of the cities of Tokmak and Polohy and the large settlements of Kamjanka and Rosivka should also pack their bags. The towns are up to 40 kilometers behind the current front line. However, a Ukrainian counter-offensive is expected in the near future. One possibility is a military advance in the Zaporizhia region towards the coast of the Sea of Azov. The attacks on strategically important objects in the Russian-controlled rear of the front have recently increased significantly.
Selenskyj: Donation platform a success
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj celebrated the success of the United24 donation platform for Ukraine, which he launched last year. The original goal of uniting people around the world to stand up for Ukraine and freedom has been achieved, said Zelenskyj in his evening video address yesterday.
The donations collected in 110 countries supported, among other things, the development of the fleet of naval drones and all projects related to drones for the front. The platform has raised over $325 million (€294 million) in donations since its inception exactly one year ago, according to the website.
Russia sanctions: EU Commission submits new proposals
In the fight against circumventing sanctions against Russia, EU exports to third countries should also be able to be restricted in the future. As the German Press Agency learned from EU circles, this is a proposal by the European Commission for an eleventh package of punitive measures for the war against Ukraine. It was sent to the Member States yesterday.
According to the information, it is planned to create the legal possibility of restricting exports to third countries because of an alleged circumvention of sanctions as a deterrent. If this is not sufficient, then in a second step certain exports could actually be blocked.
That's going to be important today
Heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine continues. The focus is still Bachmut: the defenders do not want to give up the largely destroyed city, although their troops only hold a small part of the city area. According to the Ukrainian military leadership, the Russian troops are trying to completely conquer Bakhmut by May 9th at the latest.
For Moscow, this would be a prestige victory on Victory Day over Nazi Germany. Since the capitulation, which actually came into force on May 8, 1945, was signed a second time on the night of May 9 at Soviet headquarters at Stalin's request, this day is considered a public holiday in Russia.