The leader of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, announced Friday that his troops will be withdrawing from the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on May 10. And that they are leaving their position because of severe ammunition shortages.
This move comes as tens of thousands of mercenaries are fighting for Russia in Ukraine. The US National Security Council has reported that about 80% of them were in Russian prisons before they enlisted in the private army. And were sent to the frontlines of the conflict.
According to the UK Ministry of Defense, Wagner commands 50,000 fighters in Ukraine. And the private army is a key component of the Ukraine campaign.
The organization began recruiting in large numbers last year because Russia had trouble finding people for the regular army. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Wagner Group had only about 5,000 fighters.
Prigozhin stressed that his fighters would stay on their positions until Victory Day on May 9. That’s when Russia celebrates wining in World War Two.And they plan to withdraw from Bakhmut the following day.