Video claims to show Russian mercenary executed by sledgehammer
A gruesome video released Monday claimed to show a Russian mercenary who fled while fighting in Ukraine being executed with a sledgehammer — although the group behind the alleged execution later said the footage was staged and all “fun.
The disturbing clip, captioned “Video from the court for treason,” shows a man who identifies himself as Dmitry Yakushchenko with his head taped to a block on a brick wall.
An unidentified man dressed in camouflage stands behind him holding a sledgehammer as the victim explains he was picked up in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro.
“I was planning on finding some loophole, just, as they say, to run away,” the man who himself as Yakushchenko said, adding that it was “not his war.”
The executioner then raises the sledgehammer and appears to swing it into his head, at which point the video blurs.
The victim is then seen falling backwards as a caption reads: “The court session is declared closed.”
The video was shared to social media by Gray Zone, a Telegram channel linked to the Wagner mercenary group — a Russian paramilitary organization which promotes itself as Russia’s most ruthless fighting force.
The footage has not been authenticated, though the brutal network of thugs adopted the sledgehammer as its symbol after reportedly using it to execute a defector from its ranks last year.
Hours after the sickening clip was shared, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed the footage was just “having fun.”
“Ksenia, don’t take everything so sadly,” he said in response to a request for confirmation from reporter Kseniya Sobchak, who runs Russian news outlet Ostorozhno Media.
“The children are having fun. You thought that the film about Yakushchenko was a one-episode drama … If you wish, we can share the next series with you,” he added.
Prigozhin then posted a video of “Yakushchenko” in front of a blank concrete wall saying he was “forgiven” because he had shared valuable information that saved other fighters’ lives.
“For that reason I’ve been forgiven, for which I’m extremely grateful,” he says, above a caption reading “Dmitry Yakushchenko is a good man.”
The second video has also not been authenticated — nor the order in which the videos were taken — but Yakushchenko’s current whereabouts are unclear and there is no confirmation that he is still alive, the BBC reports.
Independent Russian outlet Agentstvo, meanwhile, has speculated Yakushchenko is alive and may have been turned over to Russian authorities during a prisoner swap.
Still, the footage appearing to show the alleged execution was the second publicized video of a Wagner group member’s purported death by sledgehammer in recent months.
Brutal video shared in November — distributed under the heading “The hammer of revenge” on Telegram — claimed to show a Russian mercenary identified as Yevgenny Nuzhin also taped to a wall before being killed by a sledgehammer.
The Wagner group leader and oligarch Prigozhin also filmed threatening to kill Russian prisoners for deserting the cause in recruitment videos that circulated last fall.
Jason Luv Onlyfans with Lena the plug Videos & Photos Leaked Full video Jason Luv Onlyfans with Lena the plug Videos & Photos Leaked Full video With the video online posting and widespread sharing on social media platforms, the general public first learned about this situation. At that time, a couple additional videos based on [...]