Putin announced that Russia would end its participation in the nuclear arms treaty

Graves of fighters from the Russian mercenary group Wagner at a cemetery near the town of Pakinskaya in Russia’s Krasnodar region on January 22. (Reuters)

Wagner Group chairman Yevgeny Prigozhin accused the leadership of the Russian Defense Ministry of “treason” for allegedly trying to destroy his private military company, in an audio recording released by his news service Telegram on Tuesday.

“The Chief of the General Staff and the Defense Minister are issuing orders left and right, PMC Wagner is not getting ammunition, they are not helping the airlift either,” Prigozhin said in the post.

“There is direct opposition, which is nothing but an attempt to destroy the PMCs,” he said, referring to private military firms. “Now that Wagner’s PMCs are fighting for Buckmutt and losing hundreds of their fighters every day, this is tantamount to treason.”

In the audio recording, an apparently frustrated Prigozhin complained about the high death toll inside Wagner, citing a constant lack of supplies.

“Wagner’s PMCs are out of ammunition. Why is there a constant shortage of ammunition for the rest of the units? A few army officers decided that this is their country, their people, and these people will die when it suits them,” he said.

CNN could not independently verify Prigozhin’s claims about the Defense Ministry and the ammunition depot.

Some important background: Tuesday’s comments echo those of Prigogine on Monday, who said twice as many fighters from Wagner and other army units were dying each day from “total shell starvation, not being allowed to use what was in the warehouses.”

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The Wagner leader, who holds no official title, has been unusually vocal in his criticism of some of President Vladimir Putin’s generals. There is a long-standing dispute with the Ministry of Defense, which publicly blames the current leadership for heavy losses and failures in Ukraine.

Although it has operated mainly in the shadows in the past, its profile has grown in recent months as it has launched harsh public criticism of the Russian military for its failures in Ukraine, while thousands of Wagner troops have been deployed. East of the country.

The US government estimates that Wagner’s group suffered more than 30,000 casualties, including 9,000 killed in the battle for the city of Bakhmut. Half of those 9,000 have died since mid-December, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last week. He said 90% of those killed in December were recruited from Russian prisons.

CNN’s Sam Fossum contributed to this report.

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