Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of a Russian mercenary group, published a photo of one of his dead soldiers in Ukraine while blaming the army generals for their deaths and pleading with common Russians to support his organization.
On Tuesday, Prigozhin had already gone on the offensive, charging the defense minister and chief of staff with attempting to kill his Wagner mercenaries by depriving them of ammunition.
In the siege of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, Wagnerites have played a significant role.
The defense ministry rejected his assertions.
Without mentioning either Prigozhin or the Wagner group, it declared that "all claims made by assault units regarding shell shortages are categorically false.".
The ministry listed 1,660 rockets, 10,171 artillery rounds, mortar rounds, and 980 tank rounds that had been supplied between Saturday, February 18, and the following Monday, describing it as a priority to arm mercenary groups.
Wagner's founder, Prigozhin, had long-standing relationships with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the conflict in Ukraine has stoked a fierce rivalry between the mercenaries and the regular army, and analysts think Prigozhin no longer has the president's ear.
Despite the fact that mercenary organizations like Wagner are purportedly illegal in Russia, Prigozhin has not only registered it as a business but was also caught on camera last year actively recruiting for the war inside Russian prisons.
In the eastern town of Soledar last month, Wagner declared victory, but the defense ministry later declared that it had control of the area.
The battle for Bakhmut has raged on for more than six months and has taken center stage in Russia's eastern offensive. It's estimated that the campaign claimed thousands of lives.
Never one to hold back, Prigozhin blasted Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov for not only blocking the delivery of ammunition but also for failing to assist with air transport or even in providing shovels for trench digging.
Such overt military opposition to arming his fighters amounted to treason, he claimed.
When the ministry refuted his claims, he responded by accusing it of "spitting" at Wagner and claiming it had only received 80% of the ammunition it needed to complete its combat missions.
Then he uploaded a picture of dozens of mercenaries' dead bodies waiting to be collected that appeared to be taken in the Bakhmut area.
These are the men who perished yesterday due to alleged "shell shortages.". He stated in an audio message to his press service, "There are five times as many of them as there ought to be.
The defence ministry must provide ammunition to his troops, he urged Russians to publicly demand, without resorting to protests.
Commentators have questioned whether Prigozhin is being forced out by Gen Gerasimov, who was recently given control of the campaign, due to the obvious power struggle at the center of Russia's war in Ukraine.
The dispute would damage the authority of the defense ministry, according to pro-Kremlin pundit Sergei Markov, who claimed that Russians who supported the war were unmistakably supporting Prigozhin.
When Wagner troops are rotated away from Bakhmut and ammunition is withheld, according to Russia expert Mark Galeotti, "it sets [the] scene for regulars to deliver Putin his first victory (however meaningless) for some time.".
Prigozhin promised in his audio message, "We won't leave Bakhmut.". "Until all [the Wagnerites] are dead, we'll just kill twice as many people. And when the Wagnerites have finished, Shoigu and Gerasimov will probably have to start using machine guns.