Alexey Savichev, a former mercenary of the Russian state-backed Wagner Group, said that his confession about murdering dozens of Ukrainian civilians, including children, was "only 10%" of what he could share, Russian independent outlet Vertska reported on April 18.
The report came after Russian opposition media outlet Gulagu.net published a video on April 17 where Savichev and Azamat Uldarov, both ex-prisoners, confessed to war crimes they'd committed in Bakhmut as part of the Wagner mercenary group.
Savichev told Vertska Media that he had been contacted by Vladimir Osechkin, the founder of Gulagu.net, and offered 10,000 rubles ($123) for the interview.
According to Savichev, he spoke with Osechkin "just to eat and survive," and has received multiple threats since the interview was published online.
"I only told 10% of what could be told. And for this 10%, I am now hiding, running like a rat across Russia," Savichev said.
In the interview with Gulagu.net, Uldarov said that they had received orders from Prigozhin himself to "clean up" in Soledar and Bakhmut, meaning to kill everyone in sight.
Savichev admitted to throwing around 30 grenades into a pit with 50-60 wounded Ukrainian POWs and Wagner deserters, adding that he "would rather have fulfilled the order and go warm up because it was very cold."
Uldarov also admitted to killing several hundred Ukrainian civilians sheltering in a basement, as well as a screaming girl who was apparently no more than five- or six-years-old.
After the interviews were published online, Ukraine's Prosecutor General announced on April 17 that it had launched an investigation.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner Group, responded on April 18 to Savichev and Uldarov's accounts, calling them "a blatant lie," adding that Wagner "has never touched and does not touch" children.
He also said that people "spreading lies" about Wagner were the enemy and that they would be dealt with "in a special way."