Russia’s mercenary Wagner forces have not yet received the ammunition promised by Moscow, the head of the group said on Tuesday, rowing back from comments hours earlier that initial data showed they had begun to get it.
But Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose forces have spent months trying to capture the eastern Ukraine city of Bakhmut, added that he did not want to “spoil” Russia’s big Victory Day parade set for 0700 GMT, and would reveal more details afterwards.
“The people who were supposed to fulfil the (shipment) orders have so far, over the past day, not fulfilled them,” Prigozhin said in a video post on the messaging app Telegram.
Late on Monday, he had said preliminary data showed his troops were beginning to get the ammunition, while cautioning they had not “seen it in practice“.
President Vladimir Putin will speak at the military parade in Red Square, one of Russia’s most cherished public events, held to mark the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
On Sunday, Ukraine’s military vowed to prevent Moscow from making a final push to try to capture the ruined city of Bakhmut, so denying Putin what would be his only prize for a costly winter offensive in time for Tuesday’s holiday.