Wagner Group boss has been ‘cut off’ by Putin for ammo demands

The outspoken founder of the Wagner mercenary group complained that Vladimir Putin has cut off all contact with him following his constant demands for more ammunition for his fighters in Ukraine.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, a catering mogul and Putin’s long-time ally, said in a message on his Telegram channel Thursday that he has been unable to get through to anyone at the Kremlin.

The apparent silent treatment came after Prigozhin publicly called on the Russian Ministry of Defense to supply ammunition to his mercenaries fighting to capture the key city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, which has seen some of the bloodiest battles since the start of the invasion.

“In order to stop me from asking for ammunition, they turned off all special [government] phone lines in all of the offices and [Wagner] units … and blocked all [my] passes to the agencies responsible for making decisions,” Prigozhin moaned.

Businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, left, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, around his factory which produces school meals, outside St. Petersburg, Russia on Monday, Sept. 20, 2010.
Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin (left) claimed that Vladimir Putin has “cut off” all contact with him after his complaints about ammunition.

Yevgeny Prigozhin (C) with fighters of the Wagner Group.
Prigozhin (pictured center with Wagner Group mercenaries) said that his access to government communication channels has been blocked.

A day earlier, Prigozhin bragged in a voice recording on the Telegram channel run by his press service that his fighters have taken full control of the eastern part of Bakhmut, which Russian forces have been desperately trying to capture for months.

“Everything east of the Bakhmutka River is completely under the control of Wagner,” he claimed.

The Post could not independently verify Progozhin’s claims, and Kyiv officials have not commented on the Russian forces’ latest purported gains in the region.  

This file video grab taken from a shooting by AFPTV shows an aerial view of destructions during fighting in the city of Bakhmut on February 27, 2023.
Wagner fighters have been leading the effort to capture the key city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine for months.
AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images

In a message posted on social media overnight, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated that Kyiv’s troops have repelled “numerous” attacks around Bakhmut.

Prigozhin has repeatedly and openly clashed with Russia’s military, including Defense Minister and Putin crony Sergey Shoigu.

Last month, he made headlines when he publicly accused the top brass of committing “treason” by starving his soldiers of desperately needed ammunition, leading to a high casualty rate in their ranks.

He later announced that the supply of ammunition has resumed, but on Thursday revealed that shortages had not been fully addressed.

Wagner fighters
Prigozhin claimed Wednesday that his forces have taken the eastern part of Bakhmut.

“Now I can only ask [for more supplies] through the media and … most likely will be doing just that,” Prigozhin said.

On Friday, the Wagner Group boss released yet another update on the ammunition situation, in which he appeared to contradict himself while thanking Putin’s government for the “heroic” increase in the production of bullets and shells.

On the one hand, Prigozhin said his men had been “blown away” by the fact they had started to receive ammunition labeled as produced in 2023. He said ammunition was now being produced “in huge quantities, which cover all the necessary needs.”

In the same breath, he said he was “worried about ammunition and shell shortages.”