Monday, 28 Nov 2022

Family horrified by video of sledgehammer killing of Wagner Group defector

Family horrified by video of sledgehammer killing of Wagner Group defector


Family horrified by video of sledgehammer killing of Wagner Group defector

Family members of a former Russian prison inmate, who defected to Ukraine after being recruited by the Kremlin-linked private military group Wagner, have expressed "horror" over his apparent execution after a gruesome video emerged on Friday that showed him being repeatedly struck with a sledgehammer.

Footage of the summary killing of Yevgeny Nuzhin was posted over the weekend by the Wagner-linked Telegram channel Grey Zone. In the video, Nuzhin was shown lying down with his head taped to a brick wall as an unidentified man in combat clothing hits him with a sledgehammer.

Nuzhin, 55, had been serving a 24-year prison sentence for a murder he committed in 1999 when he was freed in July and conscripted into Wagner, a notorious military group run by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a powerful Russian businessman and a close ally of Vladimir Putin.

Following his capture by Ukrainian forces in September, Nuzhin gave a series of interviews in the country, in which he said he had joined the Wagner group to get out of prison and that he quickly hatched a plan to surrender to Ukraine.

In the interviews, he also criticised the Russian leadership and expressed his desire to join the Ukrainian forces and fight against Moscow.

Ilya Nuzhin, Yevgeny's son, confirmed to the Guardian on Monday that the man in the video was his father but declined to give further comments, citing "security concerns".

In an interview with the Russian human rights group Gulagu.net late on Sunday, Ilya Nuzhin said his family learned of their father's death through Telegram, which left them "horrified".

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