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Russia“s war on Ukraine latest: Russian mercenaries may pull out of Bakhmut


An explosion of a drone is seen in the sky over the city during a Russian drone strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine May 4, 2023. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Russia’s main mercenary group threatened on Friday pull out of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in a new sign of tension among Russian armed forces as Ukraine readies a huge military push to try to end their invasion.

* Standing in a field of corpses, Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin published an expletive-ridden video personally blaming top defence chiefs for losses suffered by his Wagner Group fighters in Ukraine.

* Prigozhin said his forces would withdraw from Bakhmut on May 10 – ending their involvement in the longest and bloodiest battle of the war – because of heavy losses and inadequate ammunition supplies. He asked defence chiefs to insert regular army troops in their place.

* It was not clear if Prigozhin, who often makes impulsive comments, would go ahead with the withdrawal if his men got extra ammunition.

* Former Russian deputy defence minister Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev has joined the Wagner Group as a deputy commander, Russian pro-war social media channels reported.

* The pace of grain shipments from Ukraine under a U.N.-backed initiative has slowed as concerns grow over ships getting stuck if a deal is not renewed later this month, according to sources and data.

* Technical personnel from Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations will meet on Friday to discuss the renewal of the deal enabling the export of Ukrainian grains via the Black Sea, the Turkish Defence Minister said.

* A drone attack on the Ilsky oil refinery in southern Russia, the second in as many days, has caused a fire, TASS news agency reported on Friday, citing emergency services.

* Ukrainian military command said in its Friday morning report that 18 out 24 drones launched by Russian forces had been shot down. It said the Russian military had launched 10 missile strikes on the cities of Kramatorsk and Zaporizhzhia, and also carried out 75 air strikes and dozens of rocket attacks.

* Nearly 50 Russian attacks were repelled along the main sectors of the front line in eastern and southern Ukraine, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Thursday evening. The heaviest fighting is still in Bakhmut and in Maryinka, further south in Donetsk region, it said.

* Reuters was not able to verify the battlefield accounts.

* Record high water levels could overwhelm a major dam in southern Ukraine and damage parts of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, a Russian official told TASS news agency.

* “Because of the lack of ammunition, our losses are increasing exponentially every day,” Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said.

* “The colours give us an easier daily routine, because when everything is grey it’s much harder to deal with,” Olena Yukhymchuk, 37, said in a Kyiv park where pink cherry blossom contrasts with barbed wire and anti-tank barriers.

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