Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday that Ukrainian forces had retaken part of the settlement of Berkhivka, north of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, calling it a "disgrace".
Prigozhin's private Wagner militia captured Bakhmut last month after the longest battle of the war and handed its positions there to regular Russian troops. Ukrainian forces have continued to attack areas close to the city.
"Now part of the settlement of Berkhivka has already been lost, the troops are quietly running away. Disgrace!" Prigozhin said in an audio message published by his press service.
He urged Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the chief of the general staff, Valery Gerasimov, to come to the front to rally the troops.
"Come on, you can do it!" he said. "And if you can't, you'll die heroes."
Prigozhin has waged a public feud with Shoigu and Gerasimov for months, frequently accusing them of failing to provide sufficient ammunition and support for Wagner in the field, and so causing it to suffer needlessly heavy losses.