A convicted murderer released from prison to fight for Russia has been beaten to death with a sledgehammer by his compatriots after “surrendering” to Ukraine.
Yevgeny Nuzhin was serving a 24-year sentence for murder when he was released earlier this year and enlisted in the Wagner group, Vladimir Putin’s private army.
The 55-year-old allegedly defected to the front lines shortly after arriving and in September told a journalist that he felt “cannon fodder” and had decided to surrender because part of his family lives in Ukraine.
However, a pro-Russian source says he was later kidnapped by pro-Kremlin forces and has since been killed in revenge for his decision to leave.
Gray Zone, a media outlet in Russia, posted a graphic video showing Nuzhin tied to a column of bricks covered with cling film.
Yevgeny Nuzhin was released from prison earlier this year to fight for Vladimir Putin’s private army, the Wagner group.
The 55-year-old, pictured here in prison, had spent 24 years behind bars for murder
In the video, the convict can be seen tied to a column of rocks with cling film before being brutally murdered
He defected to Ukraine after reaching the frontline of the conflict, but was later recaptured by Russian forces and executed
While the camera is focused on him, he says: ‘I am Yevgeny Anatolievich Nuzhin, born in 1967, who went to the front to go to the side of Ukraine to fight against the Russians.
“On September 4, I carried out my plan to go to the side of Ukraine.
‘On November 11, 2022, I was standing on the street in Kiev, where I was hit on the head and lost consciousness.
“I woke up in this basement, where I was told I would be tried.”
The footage shows him being hit with a sledgehammer multiple times, with a message from the pro-Wagner Gray Zone Telegram channel stating, “Those who understand know that a sledgehammer and traitors are in a close relationship.”
It is unclear how Nuzhin was returned to Russia, with some doubts as to whether it would have been possible to kidnap him from the streets of the Ukrainian capital.
It has been suggested that this could be a script addition by Wagner to warn other fighters.
“The traitor suddenly disappeared from the Kiev investigation and received the traditional primordial Wagnerian punishment,” said Gray Zone.
The father of two was brutally beaten to death with a sledgehammer in a video released on Russian social media. Pictured: His prison robe showing his original release date of June 14, 2027
The convicted murdered claimed he was kidnapped from the streets of Kiev shortly before he was killed by pro-Russian forces
Nuzhin was jailed in 1999 for murder and injuring a second victim and had served his 24-year sentence in a prison in the Ryazan region, south of Moscow.
He was released after a visit from Wagner leader and Putin friend Yevgeny Prigozhin, but reportedly quickly became disillusioned.
In September, he spoke to Ukrainian journalist Yury Butusov after he defected: “We were in training for seven days, the 7th squadron was an assault unit…
‘I don’t even know how to explain the task of assault units, I realized to myself – cannon fodder.
“You’re doing something wrong – they’re being taken out, that’s called a firing squad.”
He added that he could not fight against his relatives who live in Ukraine. He is believed to have married in prison and has two sons, both of whom serve in the Russian army.
As the war rages on criminals, inmates in Russian prisons have been given the chance to join Wagner and fight on the front lines in Ukraine in exchange for a reduced sentence.
The group has threatened to execute deserters and traitors, despite the fact that these extrajudicial killings are illegal under Russian law.
The Russian human rights organization Gulagu.net believes the shocking images are real.
Nuzhin was in a colony of a strict regime, he was recruited by Yevgeny Prigozhin and was captured almost immediately [by Ukraine]’ said a message from the group.
Some time later he did an interview – over eight million views, and said he decided to fight for Ukraine.
The Wagner group is led by Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, pictured here serving food to Vladimir Putin in 2011
“According to our sources, Nuzhin was either recaptured or returned to the Russian army, who passed him on to the so-called Wagner security service.”
It said that Nuzhin was killed with a sledgehammer as a means of revenge for his critics of Putin, and for siding with Ukraine.”
Gulagu.net added that the images “prove” that Russian special forces and Wagner’s “security service” are carrying out extrajudicial killings and killing prisoners who refuse to fight for Russia but want to transfer to Ukraine.
The conclusion was: ‘Putin and Prigozhin are murderers. They have to face justice.’
Former Putin speechwriter Abbas Galyamov said the footage would harm Prigozhin, who reportedly wants to become Russia’s defense minister.
“People wouldn’t want a person in power who organizes public medieval executions,” he said.
‘He has also done the regime a very disservice with that.’