Yevgeny Nuzhin reportedly joined the group of mercenaries to get out of prison and then surrendered to Ukrainian forces.
The execution is particularly brutal. In a video posted on Telegram messaging by relatives of the Wagner group, an alleged member of the Russian militia, visible with his skull taped to a block of stone, is murdered with a club on the head. Asked by the GuardianIlya Nuzhin confirmed that it was his father, Yevgeny Nuzhin.
“Our whole family was in tears watching the video… He was killed like an animal,” Ilya Nuzhin told Russian NGO Gulagu.net, adding that they learned of his death through Telegram, which left them ” horrified”.
Recruited in a Russian prison, he went to Ukraine
Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, was serving a 24-year prison sentence in Russia for a murder committed in 1999. He was released in July. The Russian NGO Gulagu.net, specializing in the defense of detainees, claims that he was enlisted in the Wagner group, mercenaries accused of serving the interests of Vladimir Putin’s regime in many conflict zones, particularly in Ukraine.
The man was captured by Ukrainian forces in September. He then gave a series of interviews around the country, in which he said he joined the Wagner Group to get out of prison and quickly hatched a plan to deliberately go to Ukraine.
In these interviews, he also criticized russian leaders and expressed his desire to join Ukrainian forces and fight against Moscow.
According to unconfirmed reports, Yevgeny Nuzhin was part of a recent prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine, news that has raised concerns among human rights groups.
“Ukraine has a responsibility towards Nuzhin and he should not have been included in this exchange, given the dangers he faced in Russia,” the Gulagu.net official told the Guardian.
“Not the business” of the Kremlin
In a video posted on Sunday, Yevgeny Prigojine, leader of the Wagner Group mercenaries, praised the execution. “It’s a magnificent work of realization, it can be seen in one go. I hope no animals were harmed during the filming”, he commented, calling Yevgeny Nuzhin a “traitor”. .
But in a new press release published on Tuesday, Evguéni Prigojine denies any involvement of his group in the execution and designates the American secret services as responsible, without substantiating his accusations.
“This is on the ropes of US intelligence services, which abduct people, including Russian citizens, across the world,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said, calling on Russian prosecutors to open an investigation.
Evguéni Prigojine, 61, is the subject of Western sanctions for his role in the Wagner group. In September, he admitted having founded this paramilitary organization after years of denial. This week, he also bragged about having carried out election influence operations in the United States.
This Monday, the Kremlin sought to distance itself from the video, which has been the subject of numerous reactions on Russian social networks. His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said “it was none of (their) business”.