War in Ukraine: Wagner’s militia ready to defend Belgorod region, “We will defend our Russian people…”

“We will protect our (…) Russian people and all who live there,” he added in an audio message released by his news service, noting that his men would not wait for an “invitation” or authorization to deploy to the region. .

“The only thing we ask for is ammunition, so that it doesn’t come, as we say at home, just an ass in the cold,” said Mr. Prigozhin added.

In recent days, the Belgorod region, especially its parts closest to the Ukrainian border, have been hit by fires of unprecedented intensity since the Russian offensive began in Ukraine in late February 2022.

War in Ukraine: “99 percent” of Wagner Group leaves Bachmouth

Governor Vyacheslav Klatkov said the region was hit by more than 500 artillery, mortar or multiple rocket launchers on Friday, including more than 370, sending hundreds of civilians fleeing in and around the town of Sebekino.

Mr Klatkov announced on Saturday that one more person had died in Friday’s strikes, bringing the death toll to five. Officials said at least 27 people were injured.

Moscow also said on Thursday that its air force and artillery had repulsed a ground attack from Ukraine in the region, a week after a spectacular weapons incursion showed the vulnerability of Russian borders.

Wagner’s leader regularly lambasted Russian military personnel, accusing them of “giving away” areas in the Belgorod region on Saturday.

“The (Russian) Defense Ministry is in a position to do nothing because practically it doesn’t exist, it’s in a mess,” Prigozhin said.

A day earlier, Wagner’s troops had ‘99%’ withdrawn from Bakhmaut in eastern Ukraine, claiming to have captured the town on 20 May, handing over their positions to the regular army.

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