Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin has announced that a Russian commander has been taken prisoner after allegedly opening fire on his forces in Bakhmut. This comes as Prigozhin accused the Russian military of mining roads in Bakhmut used by Wagner PMCs.
?? ARMY vs. WAGNERITES
?? “The ?? Ministry of Defense, ordered that fire be opened on the Wagnerites leaving Bakhmut and set the mines to undermine the Wagner columns.”
– Prigozhin, Wagner Founder.
Who also shared this video. pic.twitter.com/QrJPAeulns
— Jason Jay Smart (@officejjsmart) June 4, 2023
On Sunday, Progozhin posted a report to his Telegram channel accusing Russian military forces of “mining roads in the rear zone of Wagner PMC units.” He later added that “It was not necessary to plant these charges in order to deter the enemy, as it (the area in question) is in the rear area. Therefore, we can assume that these charges were intended to meet the advancing units of Wagner.”
The statement went on to say that sappers found a large number of mines and artillery shells and began work to remove them, but were stopped after being fired upon. The person who opened fire on the sappers was arrested and identified as the commander of the 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade.
It seems that the feud between PMC Wagner and russian regular army got on the next level.
Prigozhin's mercenaries disarmed and locked in the commander of the 72nd brigade lieutenant-colonel Vinivitin. They accused him of opening fire at the members of Wagner group in Bakhmut… pic.twitter.com/JQ8JxO3Ssd
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) June 4, 2023
When asked by the Russian media outlet Live24 about proof the Russian military was responsible, Prigozhin posted interrogation footage of the commander, further stating that “Here is the cherry on the cake, so there is no doubt”
In the footage, the commander identifies himself as Lt. Col. Venevitin Hennadievich, commander of the 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade. When asked what he did, Hennadievich stated that he “ opened fire at the truck that belongs to PMC Wagner while being under the influence of alcohol,” adding it was done so out of “personal spite.”
Liberty of Russia legion offers Prigozhin to exchange Russian pows for Lt Colonel Venevitin, commander of the 72nd Brigade, captured by Wagner yesterday. Unclear why Prigozhin would have any interest in this, it's very likely a PR move to attract attention. pic.twitter.com/GPCsu7Cm4O
— Dmitri (@wartranslated) June 5, 2023
In response to the development, the Freedom of Russian Legion, which has been responsible for a series of incursions and attacks into Russia in recent weeks, offered to exchange the commander for other Russian prisoners. In a video response, The Legion said that “As a gesture of goodwill, we propose to exchange him for several soldiers of the Russian Armed Forces, captured by us during the liberation battles in Belgorod areas.”