The leader of a Kremlin-backed mercenary group has expressed his approval of the brutal, deadly attack of a conscript who defected to Ukraine.
A man identified as Yevgeny Nozin said in a video released over the weekend that he surrendered to Ukrainian forces in September but was kidnapped in Kyiv on Friday, according to the Moscow Times.
The footage then reportedly depicted Nozen being beaten to death with a sledgehammer by a member of the Wagner Group.
Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has expressed support for Nozhin’s killing, saying in a statement Sunday that he was a traitor.
Prigozhin, who is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, also praised the execution video as “an excellent directorial work that can be seen in one sitting”, and said it should be titled “The Death of a Dog to a Dog”.
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“Nozhin betrayed his people, he betrayed his comrades,” said Prigozhin.
“He was not imprisoned, he did not surrender, but he planned his escape,” he added.
Nozhin was reportedly a convicted murderer who joined Wagner after recruiting Prigozhin from prisons, offering amnesty in exchange for fighting against Ukraine.
As for those who fled, they were threatened with death.
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Nozhin spoke about the lackluster conditions within Wagner and the ranks of the Russian army, according to videos released by Ukrainian forces after Nozhin deserted.
Nazin’s family was devastated and in tears when they saw footage of his death, according to an interview his sons gave to Gulagu.net, a prisoner rights organization.
“He was a prisoner of the Ukrainians and then a terrible thing happened to him… All his relatives blame the Ukrainians for that,” Nozin’s son Ilya said, adding that the Ukrainians should have known they were sending him to his death.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the video of Nazin’s death, telling the press on Monday: “It’s none of our business.”
Rebecca Koffler, a former KGB officer in Russian Doctrine and Strategy and author of “Putin’s Playbook,” told Fox News Digital that while Nozin’s killing was “horrific,” it was “unsurprising.”
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“The Wagner Group is known for its torture methods,” Koffler said. “What the Putin regime is trying to do is instill fear into the hearts of Russian soldiers – who are demoralized and exhausted from nine months of hard fighting – to dissuade them from leaving the battlefield.”
Koffler asserted that such tactics come from the top.
“It all comes from Putin,” she said. In March, following the invasion, Putin gave a chilling speech during a massive pro-war rally, calling those who did not support his ‘special operation’ in Ukraine ‘scum and traitors’ who deserved to be handed over to Russia and calling for Russia’s ‘self-cleansing’ of ‘fifth columns’. “Pro-Western”.
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“This inhumane treatment by Wagner agents of those who change sides comes from the Stalinist Red Terror mentality,” Koffler added.