Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group, has said that his mercenaries were fired upon by the Russian military in May. He even shared an interrogation of a captured Russian lieutenant colonel.
Source: Prigozhin’s press service
Details: Prigozhin has shared a report claiming that the Wagner criminals were fired upon by Russian military personnel on 17 May when the militants were trying to clear mines on the road.
Quote: "We found landmines in the form of large quantities of explosive charges, anti-tank mines and guided artillery shells, which had been brought to the positions of the Ministry of Defence (i.e. the regular army – ed).
After a preliminary inspection, the group started clearing mines, but was forced to stop the work because they came under small arms fire from the Ministry of Defence positions near Semyhiria."
Details: Prigozhin has claimed that the attack destroyed an Ural truck belonging to the Wagnerites by hitting the engine directly. The Wagnerites themselves were ostensibly not injured.
Prigozhin has said that the militants captured the offender, a Russian officer, and that he was drunk.
The militants have also posted a video with the detained Lieutenant Colonel Roman Venevitin, who introduces himself as the commander of the 72nd Brigade and claims that he opened fire on the Wagnerites out of personal animosity. He also admits that he was drunk.
Bellingcat journalist Christo Grozev has confirmed that Venevitin is indeed a Russian military officer, a lieutenant colonel.
Venevitin (corr), born 1978 and shown here (right) with a yet unbroken nose, is indeed a Lt. Colonel who recently graduated from Russia's military academy. pic.twitter.com/5L3Cilc6mv— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) June 4, 2023
- Prigozhin said on 2 June that representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defence had placed anti-tank mines and other explosive devices along the routes used by Wagner's forces to withdraw from Bakhmut. According to him, the mines were placed in rear areas where there was no activity on the part of Ukraine, and therefore the MoD probably intended to give Wagner a "public flogging".