Wagner Group shows mercenary allegedly killed with sledgehammer, saying he was pardoned

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Grey Zone, a Russian Telegram channel closely associated with the Wagner Group Private Military Company, has published a new video of the alleged execution with a sledgehammer of a Wagner mercenary who surrendered to the Armed Forces of Ukraine; however, according to the person in the video, he was later abducted from the city of Dnipro. Later, the press service of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner Group, released a video of an apparently living mercenary who said that he was "forgiven".

Source: BBC News Russian; 24 TV Channel; Grey Zone; Prigozhin’s press service; RBK news agency

Details: The Telegram channel reports that the video allegedly shows Dmytro Yakushchenko, who was born in Crimea and has been convicted several times on the peninsula. "He received his penultimate sentence of 19 years for robbery and murder in Crimea. Because of the chance he was given for release and atonement, he joined the Wagner Group, where he escaped to the enemy's side four days later," the statement reads.

If the story is about this person, his confession after being captured in November last year was published by the 24 TV Channel.

The new video shows a man whose head is taped to a stone. The Telegram channel comments that this person "got the same disease that makes you faint in Ukrainian cities, first in Kyiv, and now in Dnipro, and then wake up in the basement at your last court hearing".

The man in the video claims that he was in the city of Dnipro, where he was hit in the head and lost consciousness. "I woke up in this room, where I was told that I was going to be tried," the man says.


The video shows how, immediately afterwards, the person standing behind the doomed man hits the place where his head is located with a sledgehammer. At this point, most of the frame is blurred, so it is impossible to understand what exactly is happening. But the man immediately falls backward, and the one with the sledgehammer continues to finish him off.

Commenting on the journalist's request for a video, Prigozhin the founder of the Wagner Group, hinted that such executions will continue. "You thought that the film about Yakushchenko is a one-part drama ‘The Dawns Here Are Quiet’ [an allusion to a cult Soviet war drama - ed.], but I think it is more like ‘Seventeen Moments of Spring’ [an allusion to a Soviet twelve-part television series - ed.]. If there is interest, we can share the next episode with you. Just so you know, the good will always prevail over evil", said Prigozhin.

Subsequently, Tatiana Moskalkova, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation  stated that she intends to send an appeal to the Investigative Committee regarding the authenticity of the video, which allegedly shows the execution. "Extrajudicial executions are unacceptable and must naturally be checked," she said.

After that, Prigozhin's press service, without any comments, released a video of an apparently living Yakushchenko, in which this person says that after the capture, he shared valuable information, and therefore "he was forgiven."


  • On 13 November 2022, it became known that Russian citizen Yevgeny Nuzhin had been brutally executed without trial by tying his head to concrete with duct tape and hitting it with a sledgehammer. Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group, hinted that it was the work of his mercenaries. Perhaps Russia is trying to discourage Russian conscripts from surrendering by using such a video.

  • On 24 November, Yevgeny Prigozhin offered to give a sledgehammer with fake bloodstains to the European Parliament in response to the news that his Private Military Company might be recognised as a terrorist organisation. The representative of the Wagner PMC has already given the sledgehammer to propaganda bloggers.

  • On 9 February 2023, Yevgeny Prigozhin announced that the recruitment of convicts to the private military company, which has been recognised as criminal, has now completely stopped. He never specified what caused such a decision.

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