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FutureStarrAnother Wagner Soldier Has Been Blastically Executed With A Sledgehammer
Another Wagner soldier has been brutally executed with a sledgehammer after fleeing to Ukraine. A video of the attack is circulating on messaging app Telegram and appears to have been shared by an organization connected to PMC Wagner, a private military company which recruits soldiers for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian mercenary group Wagner has released a disturbing video purporting to depict the second sledgehammer execution of a captured defector. This clip was posted on their semi-official Telegram channel around three months after they released similar footage showing felon Yevgeny Nuzhin being murdered.
Video footage depicts Dmitry Yakushchenko, a member of Wagner who joined after serving 19 years in jail for robbery and murder in Crimea before Russia annexed it in 2014. In the video, Yakushchenko confesses to defecting while another mercenary brutally attacks him with a sledgehammer.
This video comes after Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the group Wagner, threatened extrajudicially killing a member who deserted. The man's head was taped to a pile of bricks before being bludgeoned to death.
In the video, a Wagner soldier appears to strike the man on the head with a sledgehammer. It then appears as if he has been beaten again before his body slumps to the floor.
The video, released on Telegram channel GrayZone, depicts close ties between PMC Wagner - a private military company working for Putin that recruits troops to fight Ukraine - and GrayZone, who filmed it. Both companies had approved of the clip.
According to the video, Dmitry Yakushchenko was recruited as part of the Wagner Group founder's recruitment drive in Russian prisons. He was convicted of murder while Crimea was under Ukrainian control and sent to a Russian prison in Engels for treatment.
He was eventually released to The Wagner Group. In the video, he confesses his plan of finding "some loophole" to escape punishment and avoid prosecution.
He claimed he wanted "to be free from Russia, at least for a few years." Upon being offered the chance to leave permanently, he defected to Ukraine.
Two former Wagner fighters have been murdered with sledgehammers in three months, likely as revenge against those who returned to Russia after being arrested for deserting their mercenary company. Grey Zone, a Russian troll group that often posts propaganda about the Wagner Group, reported the first sledgehammer murder on November 2022.
Video footage has been circulating online depicting another Wagner soldier being brutally executed with a sledgehammer. It appears that Dmitry Yakushchenko, a mercenary based in Crimea, was executed for refusing to continue fighting for Russia against Ukraine. The footage was posted on GrayZone Telegram channel which is close to PMC Wagner - a Russian private military company which works directly for President Vladimir Putin and recruits soldiers for Russian service members.
The unregistered mercenary group, known as Blackwater, has been an integral part of Russia's war effort in eastern Ukraine. Estimates place its membership at around 40,000 including former members of the armed forces.
Beyond Ukraine, its activities have spread to Libya, Syria, Sudan and Mali. There is also speculation that it is operating in Central African Republic where there is concern that it may be using mercenaries to seize oil fields or secure other material interests.
CNN last year broadcast a video interview with two captured Wagner fighters that detailed graphic scenes of commanders shooting other recruits for breaking ranks on the battlefield. These brave men said their commanders often shot them in front of their families.
Prigozhin has been seen in multiple videos threatening to execute prisoners who deserted the front line in Russia, though it remains unclear how many Wagner recruits have perished or whether Prigozhin personally condones their deaths. He also defended the murder of a Russian mercenary who defected to Ukraine, saying that he deserved "a dog's death" for switching sides and fighting against Russia and Putin.
Prigozhin has publicly pardoned former Wagner fighters, but he also disapproves of public disclosure of their criminal histories and calls on authorities to outlaw publications that discredit them. Furthermore, the founder has requested Russian leaders provide Wagner fighters with weapons or at least ensure they have access to them.
Nuzhin's brutal execution has intensified international scrutiny of the Wagner group, which has also fought in Libya and Central African Republic. The Pentagon has expressed grave concerns about their tactics in those regions, alleging they are responsible for numerous atrocities.
On the Russian military paramilitary group's Telegram channel, video of an execution by sledgehammer of a former Wagner soldier has been released. The clip appears to be of a summary killing committed on one of Wagner's prisoners who defected to Ukraine in November 2022.
Over the weekend, Grey Zone channel posted video of Yakushchenko strapped to a block of bricks with cling film and an unidentified man holding a sledgehammer behind him. The caption reads: "Trial for treachery."
Mr Yakushchenko is seen confessing his departure from the Ukrainian side after realizing "this wasn't my war". He then claims he was hit in Dnipro and lost consciousness before waking up in a room and being told he will be judged.
He then recounts his time as a prisoner in Russia, where he was eventually convicted of murder. Sent to fight for Putin, he lost consciousness and woke up in the basement of a courthouse where it was announced that he would face trial.
The terrifying footage has been widely shared on social media and the Cheka-OGPU Telegram channel, a platform that promotes Wagner fighters. Yevgeny Prigozhin, its oligarch and leader, runs multiple Telegram accounts under the alias RSOTM.
This network of social channels is an essential element in the mercenary industry. It serves as the public face for an expansive system that uses cryptocurrency and bank transfers to raise thousands of dollars and transport equipment directly to frontlines in Russia's military campaign against Ukraine.
As part of its efforts to circumvent Western sanctions, the Wagner mercenary group has encouraged its members to disregard monetary constraints and continue fighting on Ukrainian soil despite several defeats for Russian troops.
A sledgehammer has become an emblem for Russia's most formidable fighting force, the Wagner group. Not only was it used in their video clip, but it was also used to execute many Wagner fighters for deserting or treason.
A video shared by Prigozhin's Telegram channel depicts another Wagner soldier being brutally executed with a sledgehammer. This is the latest in an increasingly grim series of executions, with another convicted murderer recruited by Wagner being shown to die with it last November.
Last year, Prigozhin finally acknowledged founding the Wagner Group - an illegal Russian mercenary organisation. Additionally, he has been accused of meddling in US elections and spreading Russian disinformation around the globe.
Since Russia launched a military campaign in Ukraine, this group has grown increasingly powerful. Its fighters are engaged in some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict and its commander is seen as an invaluable ally by Moscow.
Prigozhin, a close ally of Putin, is the founder of several private businesses such as restaurants and casinos. Additionally, he was sanctioned by the United States for his role in interfering with U.S. election campaigns and spreading Russian disinformation around the world.
He has been a key player in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which Russia is fighting against Kiev's pro-Western forces. Prigozhin's connections to Moscow have granted him considerable influence within Ukraine's defence establishment.
But his power has been increasingly restricted by Moscow's security services. He has been accused of using prisoners as cannon fodder and is now under pressure to cease recruiting them.
Mikhail Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, reports that 77% of the Wagner group's prisoner recruits have died, been wounded or captured. A majority of the prisoners are Russian nationals - a practice which has alarmed Russians who fear it is allowing the Kremlin to expand its prison population.
Recently, however, Prigozhin has declared that he will no longer be recruiting prisoners as he did previously. This decision comes in response to increasing criticism from within Russia's military.
Recently, Prigozhin has had several disagreements with the Russian defence establishment, alleging it of failing to supply him with enough resources and equipment for fighting in Ukraine. Furthermore, he has expressed displeasure at Moscow's decision to hand over control of an important part of the Ukrainian front line to Ukrainian troops.
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