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Putin awards PMC Wagner mercenary convicted to 7 years in prison for armed robbery

Among the servicemen Vladimir Putin awarded for heroism and courage in the Ukraine War just before the New Year’s day was a PMC Wagner mercenary who was earlier convicted to 7 years in prison for armed robbery, a Telegram channel reports.

Russia’s president paid a visit to the staff of the South military command on 31 December where he awarded orders and medals to servicemen participating in the Ukraine War and recorded his New Year address to Russians.

Among the servicemen Putin decorated with medals was a man named Hayk Gasparyan.

Photo: the Kremlin website

Photo: the Kremlin website

A man resembling Gasparyan and wearing the same armband was earlier featured in a video shared in numerous Wagner-connected Telegram channels, stating that he was an ex-convict from a Ryazan prison. In the video, he advertises the mercenary group.

“This is what I have to say. It’s all fair and square, just as we were told, we fight alongside others. We are now on our way to receive our awards,” says the man resembling Gasparyan.

The official Telegram channel of PMC Wagner confirmed on 5 January that Gasparyan was their servicemember.

He was sentenced to seven years in a maximum-security prison for armed robbery on 18 January 2022, as per court verdict.

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Vladimir Putin recorded his annual New Year address to Russians posing before people wearing military uniforms this time. He said that 2022 was a year of “difficult and inescapable decisions, life-changing and groundbreaking events” and reminded that “protecting Motherland is a sacred duty”, calling “warriors of the special operation” heroes for all Russians.

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