Russian mercenaries with the Wagner Group have complained of not having the ammunition they need to complete their objectives in Ukraine. Their leader has threatened to pull out of the key city of Bakhmut. On Friday, he announced the deadline will be May 10.
The Wagner Group has been trying to capture Bakhmut for months and has lost thousands of fighters. Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin says they will start their pullout one day after the holiday marking Russia's victory in World War Two.
Prigozhin said, "We were put on what's known as an 'artificial ammunition deficit.' It's ammunition hunger. But the things we need are freely available in the depots."
He added that the Wagner Group's operation in Bakhmut has drawn in Ukrainian troops and given the Russian army a breather. In a video, he put the blame on defense officials in Moscow while screaming and gesturing toward the corpses of his fighters.
His claims have fueled speculation that Russian stockpiles are dwindling. Still, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has made sure regular Russian troops have all the weapons they need. He was shown inspecting new equipment in a video released on Friday.
Ukrainian officials are skeptical about Prigozhin's claims. Some say he is making excuses for his fighters failing to take Bakhmut by the May 9 holiday.