It is the Russian oligarch and Putin friend, Yevgeny Prigozhin – also referred to as “Putin’s chef”, who confirmed the alleged execution on Sunday, writes the Reuters news agency, among others.
According to Prigozhin, who is the founder of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, it is one of his former mercenaries who is executed in the video. He refers to the person as “a traitor”, who switched sides in September to “fight the Russians”.
In the video, which is also reported by the Russian independent newspaper Meduza, a man who identifies himself as 55-year-old Yevgeny Nuzhin is seen. With his head taped to a brick wall, he says that he was abducted in Kyiv on 11 October, the newspaper writes.
– I was hit in the head and lost consciousness, and came to myself in this basement. They told me that I should be tested, says the man in the video, according to Reuters.
– Betrayed his people
After these words were said, an unidentified man dressed in military clothes appears behind Nujin. The man hits his head and neck with a hammer. Nuzjin collapses to the floor, before receiving another blow to the head.
– Nuzhin betrayed his people, his comrades, and deliberately let us down. Nuzjin was a traitor, says the Wagner leader in a statement via his spokeswoman.
Among other things, the video has been published on a Telegram account which, according to several Russian media, is associated with the Wagner group, under the title “The hammer of revenge”.
In a statement, Prigozhin says the video could also have been called “A dog gets a dog’s death”.
The Russian independent newspaper Meduza writes that Nuzhin was recruited to fight for Russia in Ukraine. Here he must have surrendered. In an interview with Ukrainian journalists, he stated that he was prepared to fight on Ukraine’s side, according to the newspaper.
That it is Yevgenij Nuzhin who is executed in the video has not been officially confirmed.
The head of the Wagner group also issued a warning to other Russians he described as traitors in Sunday’s statement, according to Reuters.
– Do not forget that traitors are not only those who throw away their automatic weapons and go over to the enemy. Some traitors live in offices and don’t think about their own people. Some of them use their own private planes to fly to the countries that seem neutral to us so far. They will fly away in order not to participate in today’s problems. They are also traitors.
Prigozhin has previously denied that he leads the mercenary group Wagner. However, in September he confirmed the link for the first time.
The oligarch, who has close links to the Kremlin, said he founded the private military company to send fighters to Donbas in 2014.
He also confirmed that the group’s soldiers have been active in Africa and Latin America. Private military companies are basically banned in Russia, and the Kremlin and the political leadership deny having anything to do with the group, writes NTB.
At the end of October, British intelligence stated that they believed the Wagner group, with Prigozhin at the head, had lowered the requirements for their recruits, NTB mentioned.
Having set “relatively high recruitment requirements” in the past, the Wagner group now admits “inmates with significant health problems”, the British Ministry of Defense wrote on Twitter.
According to British intelligence, the Wagner commander’s possible purpose was to build up a defense line in eastern Ukraine, also referred to as the Wagner line.