As tensions rise between the Russian mercenary group Wagner and the country's official armed forces, the group's founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has released a video in which a captured Russian officer "confesses" to ordering attacks on mercenaries.
The video, released by Prigozhin's press service on Sunday, shows a colonel, commander of the 82nd motorized rifle brigade of the Russian Army, being openly interrogated. During the interrogation, he tells his soldiers that he ordered the attack on the Wagner group out of "personal enmity".
Just before the release of the video, Wagner's press service published a military report containing a range of information about the alleged clash between the mercenary group and regular Russian armed forces in Bakhmut on May 17. The report said a Ural military truck was damaged during the attack.
In the video posted by Wagner on Telegram, the man calling himself Venevitin says that while intoxicated he ordered his troops to open fire on Wagner's troops in the truck and apologizes to Wagner for the attack.
The veracity of the video could not be independently verified. It is not clear whether Venevitin spoke in the video of his own free will and without pressure from anyone.
Russia's Defense Ministry has yet to comment on the video or the report.
The report and the video reveal deep problems between the Russian Defense Ministry and the Wagner group. Prigozhin once again criticized the ministry's efforts in the war that followed Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Kyiv says the war in the region is ongoing, but after recent developments, Bakhmut appears to have fallen under Russian control with the capture of the northern regions.