By Stefan J.Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BAKHMUT/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – The boss of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries says Moscow has agreed to his demands for more ammunition days after threatening to withdraw his men from the eastern city of Bakhmut. Sunday’s announcement came as Kyiv claimed to have shot down one of Russia’s most supersonic weapons following deadly Russian shelling and allegedly carried out attacks inside Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea, prompting nuclear threats by a former Russian deputy prime minister.
Just days after he appeared in gruesome, expletive-filled video footage filmed among dozens of Wagner troops’ corpses, the boss of Russia’s Wagner Group of mercenaries has apparently calmed down.
Yevgeny Prigozhin has said his Wagner fighters would leave Ukraine’s eastern city of Bakhmut by May 10 due to a lack of ammunition, for which he blamed the defense minister and general staff chief of Russia’s military. But on Sunday, Prigozhin said Moscow had agreed to provide the supplies “needed to continue fighting” in the devastated city.
Critics say Prigozhin’s apparent U-turn is not a huge surprise calling him a publicity seeker who has not followed through on previous threats. In March, for instance, he suggested that Bakhmut would be captured within days.
Yet his latest threat to withdraw came as there were signs of counterattacks by Ukraine.
On Sunday, blasts were reported in Crimea, the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russian authorities claimed Ukraine sent drones into the Crimean Peninsula, with Russian air defense shooting down at least one over the port of Sevastopol. Separately a prominent Russian nationalist writer, Zakhar Prilepin, was wounded in a car bombing that killed his driver.
The attack reportedly occurred Saturday in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region, about 400 kilometers or 250 miles east of Moscow.
Russia’s foreign ministry accused Ukraine, but Ukraine’s security services refused to confirm or deny involvement, while a senior Ukrainian official accused Russia of staging the attack.
Several other strikes in and outside Russia have killed and injured prominent Russians.
But Kyiv denied carrying out a recent drone attack near the Kremlin that was apparently aimed at Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Yet Ukraine has confirmed it is preparing a counter-offensive against Russia’s military, which invaded Ukraine in February last year.
That has increased Russian military activities, with Ukrainian officials issuing air raid alerts on Saturday evening for areas covering about two-thirds of the country.
The alerts extended from the capital, Kyiv, and regions to the west through all areas in the east and south to the Kherson region and Russian-annexed Crimea.
It did not prevent more death and destruction, with Russian shelling reportedly killing at least six Ukrainian demining experts in the south. Emergency authorities said two other team members were injured, along with a nurse, and were hospitalized.
Yet backed by Western expertise and weapons, Ukraine’s air force claimed to have downed a Russian hypersonic missile over Kyiv using newly acquired American Patriot defense systems.
It is the first known time the country has been able to intercept one of Moscow’s most modern missiles.
Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk said Ukraine’s military intercepted the Kinzhal-type ballistic missile over the Ukrainian capital during the week.
With Kyiv increasing its military clout, a former Russian deputy prime minister who oversaw Russia’s nuclear-capable missiles program warned that Russia’s military could now use military nuclear weapons. “It must be said that under our doctrine, we have every right to use tactical nuclear weapons,” said the former deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin who was head of Russia’s state space agency, Roscosmos.
The man known for overseeing the new Sarmat-2 intercontinental ballistic missiles, dubbed Satan-2, admitted: “For now, their forces and conventional weapons favor the enemy,” referring to Western weapons and backing. “Therefore,” he added in a video, “the best way to destroy Ukraine’s counter-offensive is to use tactical nuclear weapons.”
The threats by a man who Moscow claims was previously injured in an assassination attempt by Kyiv underscored increased saber-rattling on both sides.
There were perhaps few signs of hope, however: Ukraine praised the return of 45 Azov battalion fighters captured during the battle for Ukraine’s city of Mariupol, while Russia said three of its pilots had been freed by Kyiv.
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