Russian Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of the president Vladimir Putinsaid on Sunday that a former mercenary who was filmed being executed with a sledgehammer to the head after switching sides in the war in Ukraine he was a traitor.
Prigozhina Russian businessman who founded the private military group Wagnerresponded to an unverified video that was distributed on Telegram showing a man designated as a former Wagner mercenary being executed after admitting he had switched sides in September to “fight the Russians”.
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The images show the man, who identified himself as Yevgenny Nuzhin, 55, with his head pressed against a brick wall. He said that he was kidnapped in kyiv on October 11 and turned up in a basement.
“I was hit on the head and I lost consciousness and I appeared in this basement“, said. “They told me I was going to be tried.”
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As he said those words, an unidentified man loitering in combat gear behind Nuzhinstruck him with a mallet to the side of the head and neck.
Nuzhin collapsed to the ground and the unidentified man struck him on the head again.
Reuters could not immediately verify the video that appeared on the Gray Zone Telegram channel, one of several that Russian outlets linked to the wagner group. The video was posted under the title “The Hammer of Vengeance”.
When asked to comment on the execution video, Prigozhin said in comments posted by his spokesman that the video should be called “A dog gets killed by a dog.”
“Nuzhin He betrayed his people, he betrayed his comrades, he consciously betrayed.”said Prigozhinwho has been sanctioned by the United States and the European Union for his role in Wagner. “Nuzhin was a traitor.”
Prigozhin confirmed in September that he founded the wagner group in 2014, the first public acknowledgment of a link he previously denied and sued journalists for reporting on it.
The wagner groupOriginally made up of veterans of the Russian armed forces, it has fought in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, Mali and Ukraine, among other countries.
Prigozhin he appeared in a video posted in September recruiting convicts in a Russian jail for war, warning them that the conflict was harsh and laying down rules about their conduct.
In additional comments on the video of Sunday’s execution, Prigozhin he also issued a warning to others in Russian society whom he described as traitors.
“Do not forget, there are not only traitors who throw away their automatic weapons and go over to the enemy”, said.
“Some traitors are hiding in offices, not thinking about their own people. Some of them use their own business jets to fly to those countries that so far seem neutral to us. They fly away so as not to participate in today’s troubles. They are also traitors.”
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.