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Sledgehammer execution of Russian mercenary who fled Wagner group shown on video

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A video showing the sledgehammer execution of a former Russian mercenary who fled the Wagner mercenary group while fighting in Ukraine was shared on social media on Monday.

In an unverified video published by the Grey Zone Telegram channel, which is linked to Wagner, a man identifies himself as Dmitry Yakushchenko, 44, and says he was born in Crimea and left prison before joining Wagner.

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“I was planning on finding some loophole, just, as they say, to run away,” he said, adding that it was “not his war” and that he planned on leaving.

Grey Zone said that he was later captured in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

“After which, like his colleague Yevgenny Nuzhin, he fell ill with the same disease that makes you faint in Ukrainian cities... and then wake up in the basement at your last court hearing,” Grey Zone said, referring to the sledgehammer execution of another mercenary shown in November.

Screenshot of a video that appears to show another sledgehammer execution by the Wagner group. (Social media)
Screenshot of a video that appears to show another sledgehammer execution by the Wagner group. (Social media)

In the footage, which is captioned “Video from the court for Treason,” Yakushchenko is shown with his head taped to a block on a brick wall, while an unidentified person dressed in camou-flage stands behind him carrying a sledgehammer.

Facing the camera in a seated position, Yakushchenko appears to recite his name and year of birth.

“I was in the streets of the city of Dnipro where I got hit on the head and lost consciousness, I woke up in this room and was told I would be tried,” he said.

After this, the person behind him raises the sledgehammer and appears to swing it into his head. At this point, the video is blurred. A loud noise can be heard, and Yakushchenko collapses to the floor. The man swings the sledgehammer again.

A caption then appears on the video which says “The court ses-sion is declared closed.”

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the video.

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