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15 Feb, 2023 14:21

‘Executed’ Wagner Group fighter shown alive to press

A video displaying the murder of a captured Russian soldier has turned out to be a hoax
‘Executed’ Wagner Group fighter shown alive to press

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the private military company Wagner Group, has confirmed that Dmitry Yakushchenko, a soldier who was previously assumed by some to have been executed, is alive.

Yakushchenko came into the media spotlight this week, after a video purportedly showing his execution was published on social media. In it, he confessed to deserting Wagner and going to the Ukraine-controlled side. He claimed that he had been abducted in Ukraine for a “trial” before an unidentified person appeared to smash his head with a sledgehammer. The video was heavily blurred.

Since the ‘execution’ video was confirmed to be a hoax, Prigozhin claimed that Yakushchenko was captured after getting lost on the frontline and “acted like a real man, that is told lots of f**king lies” to survive. He backed the assertion that the man returned with a lot of “useful information.”

The Wagner boss referred to the reappearance of Dmitry Yakushchenko as the “cherry on top” of a press tour he gave on Wednesday. The man answered some questions during a brief interview, in which he claimed that he was beaten and “tortured” in Ukrainian custody.

Yakushchenko alleged that he was threatened with mutilation and that the footage would be sent to his family. In order to “save his life,” he was forced to say on camera “what they wanted to hear,” he said.

On Monday, Prigozhin himself released some footage of the man, showing him saying that he was “forgiven” after bringing intelligence from Ukrainian captivity.