Russian colonel claims Wagner mercenaries ‘tortured and raped’ Putin’s own men

One of Vladimir Putin's Russian Army colonels has sensationally accused the Wagner Group mercenaries of raping and torturing Russian soldiers.

Tension between Russian forces and Wagner, led by Putin's nominal ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, has been simmering for months but appears to now be at boiling point.

Prigozhin previously slammed the Russian Defence Ministry for failing to provide his men with enough ammunition to defeat the Ukrainians at Bakhmut.

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Analysts have spoken of a rivalry between Prigozhin and Putin, with the former supposedly plotting to take over from Putin if he is ousted as president. This had led to accusations that the Russian Defence Ministry has starved Wagner in a bid to quell Prigozhin's growing influence.

Lieutenant Colonel Roman Venevitin was previously accused of ordering his men to shoot at Wagner forces near Bakhmut. He was captured by Wagner and confessed – although he later said this was under duress – before being released to Russian law enforcement.

Venevitin has now claimed that Wagner mercenaries brutally tortured his Russian soldiers.

"Wagnerites kidnapped my fighters, staff military. They used them as slaves. One of them, after being beaten up and raped, took his own life," he said in a video on the Venevitin_72 Telegram channel, seemingly after being released.

"I was captured, held in the basement, and bullied in a way any embittered Russian soldier would not bully a captive Ukrainian soldier.

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"I was beaten, not allowed to sleep, and three times during the night they dragged me out of the basement and threatened to shoot me. The video of my interrogation is a result of pressure.

"A petty officer of one of our battalions was kidnapped, tortured, acid was sprayed in his eyes, petrol was poured over him."

Venevitin also said he has been "relieved of duty" following his release and denied betraying Wagner forces.

Prigozhin denied the colonel was held captive and insisted he was handed to Russian security forces.

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