The founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, asked Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu to give an order to hand over positions of the Wagner PMC in Bakhmut to the special unit of the Russian National Guard Akhmat (stationed in Chechnya). Prigozhin’s statement and a copy of the official request were published by Prigozhin's press service.
Prigozhin also said that he decided to personally meet with Ramzan Kadyrov in order to begin the transfer of positions in Bakhmut.
"I am already contacting his representatives to begin the transfer of positions immediately, so that on May 10 at 12:00 am, exactly at the moment when we have completely exhausted our combat potential, our comrades will take our places and continue the assault on the town of Bakhmut."
A day earlier, Shoygu demanded that an uninterrupted supply of troops in the areas of the "special military operation" with all the necessary weapons and equipment be taken under a special control. Before that, Prigozhin recorded a video message addressed to the Russian military leadership. In the video, Prigozhin, surrounded by bodies of the killed Wagner mercenaries, said that the shortage of ammunition reached 70%, and criticized both Shoygu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. Prigozhin later said that the Wagner PMC would leave Bakhmut on May 10 and hand over their positions to units of the Russian Defense Ministry .
During the war in Ukraine, Wagner PMC mercenaries have openly criticized the Russian military leadership.
Prigozhin himself repeatedly appealed to Gerasimov and Shoygu, accusing them of undersupplying weapons and ammunition. "Why don't they give ammunition to the Wagner PMC? Because a handful of paramilitary functionaries decided that this is their country, that these are their people. They decided that these people should die when it is convenient for them, when they like it,” said Prigozhin in one of his video messages. He proposed to equate these actions with treason. This is not the first conflict in the struggle for influence between PMCs and the military department. In January, Prigozhin and the Russia Defense Ministry argued who captured Soledar. The head of the PMC claimed that the town was captured solely by the Wagner mercenaries. The Russian Ministry of Defense, in turn, claimed that not only PMC mercenaries were involved in the battles.