War in Ukraine: A new brutal killing of a "traitor" is shown in a Russian Wagner video

Taken from a video, Dmitry Yakushchenko

A video purporting to show the brutal murder of one of its soldiers who turned on them and joined the Ukrainian army has been made public by the Russian mercenary group Wagner.

The soldier is seen in the video on the Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel Grey Zone giving his name and the specifics of his recruitment before a man strikes him with a sledgehammer in a cellar.

Three months ago, Wagner published a video of a sledgehammer "execution.".

Wagner has thousands of soldiers engaged in intense combat in Ukraine.

In 2014, the group—which describes itself as a private military company—started operating in Crimea.

Since then, it has conducted operations in Syria, other regions of Ukraine, and all over Africa, and it has been charged with brutality and war crimes.

The description that follows may be upsetting to you.

Grey Zone identified the alleged "traitor" as 44-year-old Dmitry Yakushchenko, a native of Crimea who defected to Ukraine four days after signing up as a Wagner fighter, in an accompanying text post.

He was captured by the Ukrainians in the first segment of the video, which the BBC has determined originated on the Ukrainian channel Espreso. TV.

In it, Yakushchenko predicted that in a few years, Crimea might be under Ukrainian control once more.

The text stated that he had been imprisoned previously for murder but had seized the opportunity to defend Wagner in order to be released. It is well known that Wagner enlisted male prisoners from Russian jails.

The scene changes to show Yakushchenko sitting in a cellar with his head fastened to building materials leaning up against a stone wall.

Behind him, a different man is standing with a sledgehammer in hand. "Trial for treachery" is how the scene is captioned.

Yakushchenko describes being hit on the head by assailants in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro just moments before being killed, seemingly describing how he was captured after defecting.

He went unconscious and later came to "where I was told I would be tried" in the cellar.

The video blurs and Yakushchenko reclines at the moment the first hammer blow is delivered. The caption "the court session is adjourned" is followed by more blows being delivered.

With reference to Yevgeny Nuzhin, another ex-prisoner who was "executed" by Wagner in November, the Grey Zone post makes a sarcastic remark about Yakushchenko's passing.

The post stated that he had contracted the same illness as his colleague Yevgeny Nuzhin earlier in Kyiv and Dnipro, which causes people to pass out in Ukrainian cities before waking up in a basement during their final court appearance.

Where and when the video was shot were not mentioned in either the text or the video.

Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine one year ago, the mysterious mercenary group has taken on a more public persona, even opening a sizable headquarters in St. Petersburg.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Wagner, has a history of working with the Kremlin; he is known as "Putin's chef" for his catering work for the Russian aristocracy and armed forces.

By downplaying the contribution of the Russian army, he has credited Wagner with leading the offensive against Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

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