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Prigozhin’s press service says Wagner fighters captured intoxicated Russian commander after clashing with Defense Ministry troops

Evgeny Prigozhin’s press service has published a report from the commander of a Wagner Group engineering and sapping brigade that says that on May 17, Wagner forces engaged in combat against Russian Defense Ministry servicemen after they were hit with shelling near the village of Semigorye in the Donetsk region’s Bakhmut district.

On July 2, Prigozhin said that Russian army troops mined roads that Wagner Group fighters used to exit Bakhmut. Two days later, Prigozhin’s press service published a report that said that on May 17, a Wagner Group engineering and sapping brigade began demining the roads but were ultimately forced to stop their work because of shelling from the direction of the Russian military’s positions.

According to the newly-published report, the Wagner fighters “took retaliatory measures to eliminate the aggression.” The document also says the mercenaries detained a group of soldiers who were being led by the commander of Russia’s 72nd motorized rifle brigade, “who was intoxicated.”

Prigozhin’s press service also posted a video in which a man who introduces himself as Lieutenant Colonel Roman Venevitin says that he and his soldiers “disarmed” a Wagner rapid response group and fired on their vehicle and that he was motivated by “personal animosity.” He adds that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time. A person out of frame is then heard asking the commander how one might characterize his actions. After a long pause, the man responds: “Guilty.”

The Telegram channel Sirena reported that there is a serviceman in a Russian Defense Ministry database by the name of Roman Venevitin. According to the channel, Venevitin is 45 years old, serves in the Russian Armed Forces, and previously worked for a security firm in the Nizhny Novgorod region. In 2013, he reportedly lost his driver’s license after being caught driving while intoxicated.

The Russian Defense Ministry has not responded to the reports from Prigozhin’s press service.