‘Recruited by the CIA and pre-emptively went to prison for 27 years’: PMC Wagner’s Prigozhin seeks probe into US involvement in mercenary’s sledgehammer execution

Founder of PMC Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin has appealed to Russian Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov with a probe request following the publication of a video showing convict and PMC Wagner fighter Yevgeny Nuzhin’s sledgehammer execution, the business mogul’s press service reported.

According to Prigozhin, Nuzhin fought in Ukraine as a PMC Wagner volunteer and was kidnapped on 4 September. The businessman believes that American special services possibly masterminded his abduction.

Prigozhin claims that his mercenary group has no contracts in Ukraine, therefore, it would have been difficult for his fighters to transport Nuzhin to the frontline.

“However, it is well within powers of the US special services who kidnap people, including Russian nationals, all over the world, detain them without charges in clandestine prisons and commit violent murders, particularly those of foreign statesmen,” the businessman wrote as a proof of the US culpability. He believes that there’s more evidence:

  • English and a “fuck you” can be heard in the background of the video;
  • the video does not feature Russian swearing which is very characteristic of such videos that involve Russian nationals;
  • PMC Wagner did not know that Nuzhin was going to defect;
  • the colour of the brick that is tied with a scotch tape to Nuzhin’s head “is not characteristic for Russia”;
  • the camouflage uniform of the executioners is allegedly made in a colour scheme that is developed by an American company.

“I surveyed PMC Wagner employees whether they kidnapped Yevgeny Nuzhin and whether they took part in his execution. None of them reported back that they kidnapped him or took part in the execution. Therefore, Yevgeny Nuzhin was not abducted by PMC Wagner employees, they did not participate in his execution, if it actually happened at all, and had nothing to do with it,” Prigozhin concluded.

He also noted that a PMC Wagner task force is investigating whether Nuzhin “was recruited by the CIA and pre-emptively went to prison for 27 years”. The US allegedly knew about the 2014 events in Ukraine beforehand, ordered Nuzhin to infiltrate PMC Wagner, and executed him.

On 13 November, a Telegram channel affiliated with PMC Wagner published the Nuzhin execution video.

In the video, Nuzhin says that he defected to Ukraine in September and was kidnapped from Kyiv in November. The man says he woke up in a basement and was told that he would “be brought before justice”. After this, Nuzhin’s head is crushed with a sledgehammer.

After the video was published, head of PMC Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin lauded it as a “fantastic director’s work”.

“We don’t know what it is or if it’s real. It’s none of our business,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the gruesome video.

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