Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the mercenary group, accuses the US of executing Yevgenny Nuzhin, who reportedly switched sides to hitch Ukrainian forces.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the top of Russia’s mercenary Wagner group, has denied it had any involvement within the execution of considered one of its fighters in Ukraine.
Final week, a social media account linked to Wagner shared unverified footage of a person recognized as a former mercenary being killed after declaring that he had switched sides in September to “battle in opposition to the Russians”.
Within the footage, the person, who gave his title as Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, was proven together with his head taped to a brick wall. He stated he was kidnapped in Kyiv on October 11 and got here round in a cellar.
“I bought hit over the top and misplaced consciousness and got here round on this cellar,” he stated. “They instructed me I used to be to be tried.”
As he stated these phrases, an unidentified man in fight clothes behind Nuzhin was seen smashing a sledgehammer into the aspect of his head and neck.
Nuzhin collapsed onto the ground and the unidentified man delivered one other blow to his head.
The video appeared on the Gray Zone Telegram channel, considered one of a number of that Russian media has stated was linked to the Wagner group. The footage was posted underneath the title, The hammer of revenge.
Requested to touch upon the execution video, Prigozhin stated on Sunday in remarks launched by his spokeswoman that the video must be known as, “A canine receives a canine’s dying” and labelled Nuzhin a “traitor”.
“Nuzhin betrayed his folks, betrayed his comrades, betrayed consciously,” stated Prigozhin, who has been sanctioned by america and European Union for his position in Wagner.
However on Tuesday, the 61-year-old denied Wagner’s involvement and accused US intelligence providers of being behind the killing, with out offering proof to help his declare.
“I requested Wagner staff whether or not they kidnapped Evgeny Nuzhin and in the event that they participated in his torture. None supplied data of taking part in his abduction or torture,” Prigozhin stated in a letter addressed to Igor Krasnov, Russia’s prosecutor common, and revealed on Russia’s VKontakte social media service.
“For me, it is extremely clear that Nuzhin was kidnapped and violently killed by brokers of the US intelligence providers,” he added, and known as for Krasnov to open an investigation into the killing.
The Russian rights group, Gulagu.web, which advocates for prisoners in Russian detention, has stated that Nuzhin was in jail in Russia earlier than being recruited by Wagner to battle in Ukraine.
Prigozhin, an in depth ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been accused of personally taking part in a recruitment drive by providing contracts at Russian prisons, pledging that those that give up or are captured can be killed.
In September, he disclosed for the primary time that he had based the Wagner group in 2014.
Initially staffed by veterans of the Russian armed forces, Wagner’s mercenaries have fought in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, Mali and Ukraine, amongst different nations, in recent times.
Earlier this month, the group opened its first official headquarters in Russia’s second metropolis of Saint Petersburg.