Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose Wagner Group is closely concerned within the combating in Ukraine, applauded a video wherein a former member of the group is brutally murdered.
The video surfaced over the weekend on the Grey Zone Telegram channel, which regularly exhibits the actions of mercenary fighters from the Wagner Group, accused of warfare crimes in Africa, Syria and Ukraine.
It confirmed a member of the group who had defected and headed to the Ukrainian facet being killed with a sledgehammer. The person’s identify (and he names himself within the video) is Yevgeny Nuzhin.
Within the video, Nuzhin says: “On September 4, I carried out my plan by switching to struggle alongside Ukrainian troops. On November 11, I used to be on a avenue in Kiev when somebody hit me on the top and I misplaced consciousness.”
He provides: “I waited on this cellar, the place I used to be informed that I’d be judged.”
Inside seconds, he’s lifeless, hit at the very least as soon as with a sledgehammer.
Prigozhin was requested on his Telegram channel concerning the assassination. With out instantly acknowledging that Wagner’s fighters had carried out the homicide, he mentioned: “Nuzhin betrayed his individuals, betrayed his comrades, knowingly betrayed them. He was not taken prisoner, nor did he give up. Quite the opposite, he deliberate his escape. Nuzhin is a traitor.”
“Russians can scent betrayal, it is genetic. Therefore the feedback on social media,” Prigozhin mentioned, referring to some constructive responses to the assassination.
In a separate Telegram submit, Prigozhin known as the video “a superb director’s work.”
“I want to see this story within the theater. As for the executed, on this program it’s clear that he didn’t discover happiness in Ukraine, however met disagreeable, albeit truthful individuals. It appears to me that this movie known as “The canine receives the demise of the canine”.
The textual content of the Grey Zone channel accompanying the video says that “the mallet and the traitors have an in depth relationship for the ‘orchestra’ [ie Wagner]. And now, out of the blue disappearing from the investigation in Kiev, the traitor obtained the standard primordial Wagnerian punishment.”
At first of September, Nuzhin was interviewed by the Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov, and spoke about his give up to the Ukrainian forces and his readiness to struggle on the facet of Kiev.
Nuzhin additionally talked about how the Wagner group recruits prisoners to struggle in Ukraine in alternate for the promise of a full pardon in Russia.
In early October, Nuzhin gave one other interview to Ukrainian journalist Ramina Eskhakzai expressing his help for Ukraine and revealing extra particulars about how the Wagner group operates.
Within the interview, Nuzhin confirmed that he spent 23 years in Nizhny Novgorod jail for homicide. He was as a result of be launched in 2027, however selected to affix the Wagner group to struggle in Ukraine.
He additionally informed Eskhakzai: “My mother and father stay in western Ukraine. How will you make warfare with your individual household?”
On Sunday, Vladimir Osechkin, head of Gulagu.web, a prisoner advocacy group, mentioned on his weblog that he had interviewed the kids of Nuzhin, who confirmed that he was their father within the video.
It’s nonetheless unclear how Nuzhin ended up in captivity.
CNN reached out to Ukrainian authorities, asking if Nuzhin was despatched again to Russian-controlled territory in alternate for the discharge of Ukrainian prisoners of warfare, or if he was kidnapped with out their data.
On Friday, the top of the Workplace of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, mentioned in an announcement that 45 Ukrainian troopers had returned from captivity in one other spherical of prisoner exchanges.
Anastasia Kashevarova, a former adviser to Russian State Duma head Vyacheslav Volodin, mentioned the alternate included fighters from the Wagner firm, however didn’t determine them.
Requested Monday concerning the video, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned: “We’ve got no remark. We do not know what it’s, how true it’s. That is none of our enterprise.”
Prigozhin is certainly one of Putin’s trusted confidants, so shut that the Russian press known as him the Russian president’s “chef” after he started organizing occasions for the Kremlin.
In September, he admitted to founding the Wagner Group after years of denying his involvement with the crew.