A Russian dancer has confessed to attacking the artistic director of the renowned Bolshoi Ballet with sulphuric acid, Moscow police have said. 

Pavel Dmitrichenko, who has played title roles at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, and two accomplices, Yuri Zarutsky and Andrei Lipatov, confessed on Wednesday to the January 17 attack on the theatre's director Sergei Filin.

Filin, 42, is being treated in Germany after sustaining severe burns to his eyes and face when masked men attacked him with a jar of sulphuric acid. 

"I organised that attack but not to the extent it occured," said Dmitrichenko, 29, in footage released by Russian television. 

The AP news agency said that they could not immediately verify whether the men had been forced to make the confession. 

However, Filin's colleagues have said that the attack could be in retaliation for his selection of certain dancers over others.

'Personal enmity' 

Svetlana Kokotova, from the Moscow police, said that they believe that Dmitrichenko held a "personal enmity based on his professional activity".

Dmitrichenko has played the title role in a ballet performance of Ivan the Terrible amongst others and the villain in Swan Lake, the Bolshoi's flagship performance. 

A spokesperson for the Bolshoi, one of Russia's premier cultural institutions, declined to comment until after any trial but said that they had been informed about the detention. 

A Bolshoi seamstress who said she knows Dmitrichenko said that she does not believe in he carried out the attack. 

"He's a soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre, why would he ruin his career?" she said. 

Another individual who also works at the theatre said that "the criminals should be punished somehow, no matter what intrigues have been going on inside the theatre". 

Source: AP