Chief of Wagner Group hands over "blood-stained" sledgehammer to EU Parliament
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Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group [a Russian private military company loyal to the government - ed. Ed.], has proposed handing over a sledgehammer with fake bloodstains to the European Parliament in response to a possible recognition of his group as a terrorist organization. The "Wagner" representative has already given propagandist bloggers the sledgehammer.
Source: Latvia-based Russian outlet Meduza; Press service of Prigozhin's Concord company; Videos from Russian Telegram channels
Details: On November 22, when the Politico news agency reported that members of the European Parliament wanted to list the Wagner group as a terrorist organization, the Concord press service published Prigozhin's comment on the matter on VKontakte and Telegram.
Quote from Prigozhin: “Today I held a meeting of the commanders of the Wagner group and shared with them this sad news. I don't know by what law the EU Parliament is governed, but we declare the EU Parliament dissolved as of today our right. But before this procedure comes into force, I have been asked to present an information folder to the European Parliament. If you have their contacts, I suggest doing, preparing and sending this together."
Details: Concord later invited the media and bloggers to "take part in sending an information folder to the EU Parliament".
Prigozhin's press service stated on the evening of November 23 that "the information folder will be handed over to a representative of CYBER FRONT Z for forwarding to the EU Parliament".
SCREENSHOT FROM THE VIDEO
SCREENSHOT FROM THE VIDEO
A video showing the transfer of this so-called briefcase appeared on Russian Telegram channels; there was the "blood-stained" sledgehammer in the violin case.
The channels have reported that Prigozhin's lawyer took the briefcase with the sledgehammer to a meeting with bloggers calling themselves "Russia's information troops".
Why it matters: Yevgeny Nuzhin, a former prisoner recruited by the Wagner Group and sent to the war in Ukraine, where he surrendered, was murdered with the precise use of a sledgehammer. According to media reports, he went back to Russia on a prisoner swap and was executed there by beating his head in with a sledgehammer.
Atrocities committed by the Wagner group are a long-established fact. Prigozhin's mercenaries have been murdering with sledgehammers since the war in Syria. There is evidence online that "Wagners" beat a person to death in 2017, quartered the body and then burned it.
On November 13, news broke that a Russian citizen had been brutally executed without a trial by having his head taped to a concrete block and smashed with a sledgehammer. Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner group, indicated that this was the work of his mercenaries. They may be trying to use such a video to suppress a desire to surrender among Russian conscripts.
A video was later published on Telegram channels showing the arrest of two soldiers who refused to go to war; the soldiers were demonstratively detained during the line-up.
On September 20, the Russian State Duma [the lower house of the Federal Assembly, the national legislature of the Russian Federation - ed.] introduced the concepts of mobilization and wartime into the Penal Code and approved amendments to the penalty for desertion during mobilization or wartime.
On September 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law amending the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation to set tougher penalties for desertion, looting and surrender.
This law stipulates that the failure of subordinates to comply with an order of a superior issued under the established procedure and refusal to participate in military or combat operations during the law of war, in time of war or under conditions of armed conflict or combat operations , are punishable by imprisonment for a period of two to three years (part 2.1 of Article 332 of the Criminal Code).
After a video showing the execution with a sledgehammer of Yevgeny Nuzhin, a former inmate of Ryazan penal colony No. 3 and a member of the Wagner group, the recruitment of convicts in colonies of Siberia and the Far East has only intensified. In November, the Wagner group “recruited” convicts from at least six regions beyond the Urals: 150 to 200 people were taken from each colony.
In addition, Konstantin Kiselyov, imprisoned for a double murder and later recruited to fight in Ukraine as part of the Wagner group, was awarded the Order of Valor in the Russian Federation.
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