Forces on the Russian side of the ongoing Ukraine War have reportedly shot at each other, with politically-motivated infighting rising to new highs.
Officials from Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group claim to have come under fire from members of the regular Russian army, in what appears to be an instance of politically motivated infighting.
Tensions between Wagner and Russia’s military and political class have been ratcheting up over recent months, with the PMC boss’ leader Yevgeny Prigozhin even seemingly taking aim at Vladimir Putin in recent posts on social media.
According to a report by POLITICO, the group now claims to have been attacked by a section of the Russian military while deployed in Ukraine, although as is so often the case in the war, it is not yet possible to independently verify those claims.
🚨BREAKING: Prigozhin's Wagner PMC mercenaries have captured a Russian army Lt. Colonel. The embers of civil war in Russia begin to glow brighter. It appears both sides suffered significant casualties in this Russian-on-Russian gun fight. pic.twitter.com/vMCvHxvYEb
— Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) June 4, 2023
Senior officials within the Wagner group claim that members of the Russian army had begun mining areas behind the group’s positions around Opytnoye and Ozarianovka, two towns in the Bakhmut area in mid-May.
An attempt to clear the mines by Wagner troops was then reportedly met by small arms fire from Russian forces.
The paramilitary claims that one service truck was destroyed in the clash, but that no troops were harmed.
In response, the organisation claims it managed to capture Lieutenant-Colonel Roman Gennadievich Venivitin of the Russian army’s 72nd brigade, who, in a video posted online, claims to have ordered the attack on Wagner’s troops while drunk.
Such an attack, Venivitin claimed, was motivated by his own personal dislike of the organisation.
POLITICO reports that the man appears to have been “roughed up by his captors”. It also remains unclear whether the man is indeed who he claims to be, or whether or not he did order any sort of attack on Wagner troops.
Wagner Chief Denies Mercenary Group Plotting Coup Against Putinhttps://t.co/1cpRhZRTzN
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 31, 2023