A Wagner Group mercenary has boasted how he executed wounded Ukrainian prisoners by tossing a grenade at them as they were huddled in a trench – saying that there are “no rules” for Putin’s fighters.
Alexey Savichev was one of the huge number of convicts recruited from a Russian prison by Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in September last year.
The 49-year-old said he had committed a wide range of war crimes during his six-month tour of duty in Ukraine, which he completed on March 12.
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He told The Guardian: “We were told not to take any prisoners, and just shoot them on the spot”.
Savichev confessed to committing a number of other murders while he was in Ukraine, saying “It is war and I do not regret a single thing I did there. If I could, I would go back.”
His shocking claims first emerged on Monday (April 17), when along with another ex-Wagner fighter, Azamat Uldarov he appeared in a video uploaded by the Russian-based human rights group Gulagu.net.
He described how his unit had surrounded a group of around 20 Ukrainian soldiers but, rather than offering them the chance to surrender, they just “sprayed them with bullets”.
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Meanwhile, Uldarov admitted killing a group of civilians during the bloody battle for Bakhmut, with one of the victims being a young girl.
“She was screaming,” Uldarov said, “she was a little kid, she was five or six and I shot her, a kill shot. I wasn’t allowed to let anyone out, you understand?”
Andriy Yermak, chief of staff for Ukrainian president, said that Russia’s war criminals needed to be brought to trial. He wrote on Twitter: “Confession is not enough. There must be a punishment. Tough and fair. And it will definitely be”.
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Prigozhin toured Russian prisons last summer, offering amnesty to tens of thousands of lags – many of them murderers and rapists – if they were willing to sign up for a six-month stint with the Wagner Group in Ukraine.
A UN statement said: “Reports that recruited prisoners were allegedly taken to a detention facility in the Rostov region for training before being sent to Ukraine, and that they were transferred to Ukraine without identification documents and required to sign a contract with the Wagner Group, are deeply disturbing.
“We are particularly concerned that the Wagner Group has extended its recruitment to correctional facilities in the Donetsk region of Ukraine."
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