It indicates that the victim of the sledgehammer attack was a Russian prisoner recruited by the Wagner mercenary group.
The ISIS-style video depicts a man with his cranium bound to a cement block. Yevgeny Nuzhin explains that he is a former Wagner Group prisoner who, after being captured in Ukraine in September, resolved to “fight against the Russians.” In October, he was then seized in Kiev.
“I was struck on the head, lost consciousness, and regained consciousness in this cellar,” Nuzhin explains. They informed me that I would be tried. These are his final words: Behind him, a man in camouflage attire strikes Nuzhin’s neck and head with a sledgehammer, causing him to fall to the ground. The executioner then delivers a second blow to the victim’s cranium.
The unverified video, titled “Hammer of Retribution,” was uploaded to the Grey Zone Telegram channel on Saturday by an account associated with the mercenary Wagner Group. The organization, which was founded by Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, has been employed as a private army by the Kremlin during its faltering invasion of Ukraine.
Sunday, when asked to remark on the gruesome execution clip, Prigozhin praised its “excellent direction.” The press service for his Concord company quoted him as saying, “This show demonstrates that he did not find happiness in Ukraine, but rather encountered unkind but fair individuals. I believe the title of this film is “Dog’s death to a dog.” I trust that no animals were h_rmed during filming, Prigozhin added.
Meduza reports that after being seized by Ukrainian forces in September, Nuzhin gave an interview to Ukrainian media in which he described being convicted of murder in Russia in 1999 for killing one man and injuring another during a “skirmish.” He stated that he was sentenced to 24 years in prison for the offense, and that he has been serving his time in a penal colony in the Russian city of Ryazan for the past several years.
Nuzhin claimed Prigozhin visited the penitentiary in July to offer prisoners the opportunity to join the Kremlin’s “special military operation” in exchange for amnesty. Nuzhin claims that he accepted the offer but was unaware that he would be joining the Wagner group rather than the Russian Army until one month later. According to him, the candidates were flown to a one-week boot camp in Luhansk, Ukraine, which concluded on September 2. Two days later, he asserts he was captured by Ukrainian forces. According to Nuzhin, he and the other prison recruits served only as “cannon fodder.”
In the interview, he stated that he had decided to surrender in Ukraine long before he was captured and had hoped to reach a Russian legion fighting for Kiev. Putin attacked Ukraine, according to Nuzhin. Additionally, I have relatives living here. My aunt resides in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, whereas my sibling resides in Lviv.
It is unclear how Nuzhin returned to Russian control.
“Nuzhin betrayed his people, betrayed his comrades, and betrayed consciously,” Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” for his culinary services to the Russian president, said in a statement, according to Reuters. The U.S. and EU have sanctioned the mercenary leader for his involvement with Wagner, whose paramilitaries have been linked to numerous atrocities around the globe.
This past weekend, Wagner Group raid survivors in Mali accused the Russian mercenaries of sexually assaulting a dozen women and girls in September.