The Freedom of Russia Legion has addressed Yevgeny Prigozhin, financier of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), proposing to exchange a lieutenant colonel of the Russian Armed Forces captured by Wagnerites for several Russian soldiers captured by the legion in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast.
Source: address of the Freedom of Russia Legion
Quote: "Wagner PMC troops captured Lieutenant Colonel Roman Venevitin, Commander of the 72nd Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces. As a gesture of goodwill, we propose exchanging him for several Russian Armed Forces soldiers captured by us during the liberation battles in Belgorod Oblast.
It is a fair exchange with no strings attached. We will agree on the details of the exchange later."
Details: The legion stressed that they had addressed Viacheslav Gladkov, the "holder of the Order of Courage" and the governor of the Belgorod Oblast.
The resistance forces wanted to meet with Gladkov and hand over the captured Russian soldiers, but the governor "cowardly watched, leaving his people in captivity while the [Russian] troops struck peaceful towns with artillery".
Meanwhile, Prigozhin, who had previously stated that the Russian military had mined the roads used by Wagnerites for retreating from the city of Bakhmut, said that his mercenaries were fired upon by regular Russian army units.
He even posted a video of the interrogation of captured Russian Lieutenant Colonel Roman Venevitin. In the video, the lieutenant colonel says that he ordered his soldiers to open fire on the Wagnerites out of personal animosity. He also admits that he was drunk at the time.
On Sunday, 4 June, the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) said it wanted a meeting with the governor of Belgorod Oblast and offered to exchange Russian prisoners of war for a conversation with him. They offered to meet in a church in the town of Novaya Tavolzhanka.
Gladkov said that fighting was going on in Novaya Tavolzhanka, where he was offered a meeting by the RVC representatives, and he was allegedly ready to meet in the town of Shebekino if the Russian prisoners of war were alive. Meanwhile, he claimed that the PoWs had most likely been killed.
The Russian Ministry of Defence claimed that they stopped the attempt of a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group to cross the river near the settlement of Novaya Tavolzhanka.