Russia execute military deserter with sledgehammer

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Government of Russia weekend killed one of its fighters in the war with Ukraine by smashing his head with a sledge hammer, marking one of the cruelest executions in modern history.

Evgeniy Nuzhin who is one of the prisoners released by Russia to fight in Ukraine had surrendered to the Armed Forces of Ukraine after being sent to the war against Ukraine.

Russian Telegram channels posted a video of the execution of Nuzhin, a former prisoner of the Ryazan Penal Colony-3 and a member of the Wagner Private Military Companyshowing how the man’s head was smashed with a sledgehammer.

The video is edited from two parts: one part shows a fragment of Nuzhin’s interview to a Ukrainian journalist after he had been taken to captivity [in that interview, Nuzhin reveals how Russians recruit convicts to the war against Ukraine, and that he deliberately joined the Wagner Private Military Company to get into Ukrainian captivity and fight against Russia.

Another part of the video shows a man in Ukrainian military uniform, with his head taped to a makeshift anvil made of bricks and concrete. He says that he is “Evgeniy Nuzhin, born in 1967, went to the front to join Ukraine and fight against the Russians” and that “on 4 September, he carried out his plan to join Ukraine.”

He also stated that on 11 November, he allegedly “was on the streets of Kyiv, where he was hit on the head, lost consciousness and ended up in this basement”, where they told him that he would be “judged”.

After that, a man in military uniform hits Nuzhin on the head using a large sledgehammer. The “convict” falls down from the anvil, and the “executioner” hits him in the face again. At this point, the video ends.

Russian social media also published an alleged comment by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the Chief of the Wagner PMC, in which he admitted that the slaughter was committed by his mercenaries.

Quote from Prigozhin: “I prefer to watch this story in the theatre. As for the executed in this video, it is clear that he did not find happiness in Ukraine, but met with evil but fair people. I think this film should be called “Death to a Dog”. Excellent director’s work, you can watch it in one go. I hope no animals were hurt during the filming.”

Medusa noted that the statements that Nuzhin was captured in Kyiv sound implausible, as prisoners of war cannot walk around freely.

Russian social communities also write that Nuzhin was allegedly returned to Russia during one of the rounds of POW exchange.

Perhaps, the video is intended to discourage the Russian conscripts from surrendering to Ukraine.

The atrocities of the Wagnerites have been known for a while. And Prigozhin’s mercenaries have been using a sledgehammer for murders since the war in Syria.

The evidence of how in 2017 in Syria, the Wagnerites beat a man to death, quartered the body and burned it may be found in the network.

Reuters gave a corroborating account of the execution story.

Reuters also reported a video purportedly showing the sledgehammer execution of a former Russian mercenary who switched sides to back Ukraine was circulated on Russian social media on Sunday, with pro-Russian bloggers saying it was revenge for his alleged treachery.

In an unverified video distributed on Telegram channels which Russian media said were linked to the Wagner mercenary group, the man identified himself as Yevgenny Nuzhin, 55, and said he had changed sides to “fight against the Russians”.

In the footage, Nuzhin, shown with his head taped to a brick wall, gave his name, date of birth and said that he had changed sides on Sept. 4.

He said he was abducted in Kyiv on Oct. 11 and came around in a cellar.

“I got hit over the head and lost consciousness and came around in this cellar,” he said. “They told me I was to be tried.”

As he said those words, an unidentified man loitering in combat clothing behind Nuzhin, smashed a sledgehammer into the side of his head and neck.

Nuzhin collapsed onto the floor and the unidentified man delivered another blow to his head.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the video, which the Grey Zone Telegram channel entitled “The hammer of revenge”.

It was also unclear how Nuzhin, who told Ukrainian media in September that he wanted to fight for Ukraine, ended up in the hands of what appear to be Russian forces.

In a September interview, Nuzhin told Ukrainian media that he was a convicted killer who joined the Wagner group from jail but then changed sides and decided to fight against Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

Wagner group, originally staffed by veterans of the Russian armed forces, has fought in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, Mali and Ukraine, among other countries

Wagner has been recruiting convicts in Russian jails in recent months, according to a video which showed Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group, speaking to convicts in a Russian jail. A senior U.S. defense official told reporters on Sept. 19 that the group was trying to recruit over 1,500 convicted felons to take part in Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Asked to comment on the execution video, Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner mercenary group, said in remarks released by his spokeswoman that the video should be called “A dog receives a dog’s death.”

Of Nuzhin, Prigozhin said: “He did not find happiness in Ukraine, and met with unkind but fair people.”

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