Wagner mercenary company regularly executes its own troops, reports The Insider

17 December 2022, 11:34 AM
Center of

Center of "Wagnerians" in St. Petersburg (Photo:REUTERS/Igor Russak)

Russia’s Wagner mercenary company regularly conducts executions of its own soldiers, independent Russian media outlet The Insider revealed in a report on Dec. 16, citing statements made by former Wagner mercenary commander Andrei Medvedev.

Medvedev served as the commander of mercenary Yevgeny Nuzhin, who achieved infamy after a Wagner-linked Telegram channel shared an unredacted video of Nuzhin’s execution by sledgehammer. Medvedev said that he knows at least ten more cases of the Wagner mercenary company executing soldiers it deemed ‘deserters’ or ‘refuseniks’ – soldiers who reportedly refused to fight.

Video of day

According to Medvedev, he personally attended several executions by firing squad. At the same time, he noted that two of the ten executed, of whom he knows, weren’t former prisoners – unlike Nuzhin, who was recruited directly from a penal colony.

He spoke in detail about one of the cases of the execution.

“They (the mercenaries who refused to fight - ed.) were injured, went to the hospital near Pervomaisk (Luhansk Oblast - ed.), and tried to escape from there,” said Medveded.

“They were taken at the border, at the checkpoint. The MED group arrived and shot them.”

Medvedev explained that the MED group is a separate, security service unit of Wagner.

“They are flatlining people: they take the guys and kill them either publicly or non-publicly, as it was with Nuzhin,” he said.

Medvedev says that Nuzhin served in his unit.

“He came from the colony, I personally brought him to the position when he switched sides,” he added.

“I was shell-shocked that day, and evacuated to the hospital. The next day, the esbeshnyky [nickname for security personnel -ed.] came, asking me questions about this character.”

Medvedev also stated that Wagner mercenaries often don’t receive hazard or medical pay, and relatives of slain mercenaries don’t receive their promised compensation.

“Half of our fighters who were evacuated were officially filed as missing,” said Medvedev.

“What’s that for? In order to not pay insurance in case of death, because no insurance agency will ever cover such a number of losses.”

Medvedev’s identity was confirmed to The Insider by the head of Gulagu.Net, Vladimir Osechkin. Earlier, Gulagu.Net published Medvedev's appeal to the Russian leadership and personally to the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin with a request to save his life in case he is caught by the Wagner mercenaries.

Medvedev has told The Insider that he is currently on the run, as he is being pursued by Wagner itself. He claims that he has a video of the execution of mercenaries in Alchevsk, Luhansk Oblast, and if something happens to him, this video will be published. The footage allegedly contains footage of two prisoners-cum-mercenaries being executed for refusing to fight. According to Medvedev, when he deserted, everyone who fought with him was detained.

On Dec. 4, The Insider reported on the death of another ex-convict militant, Viktor Sevalnev, who commanded the 7th Motorized Rifle Company of the Luhansk puppet authority. He called his wife on a phone from the hospital and told her that he was being taken to be shot because the soldiers of his company had deserted. A few days later, his wife was informed that he had died and she was asked to receive the body.

Human rights activist Olga Romanova, in an interview with Mojem Ob’yasnit (We Can Explain), said that she personally knows about 40 cases of execution of mobilized ex-convicts. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner mercenary company and a close confidante of Putin, had warned prisoners about the possibility of executions during a publicized military recruitment trip to a Russian penal colony.

“No one ‘hits reverse’, no one retreats, no one surrenders,” Prigozhin said in a video recorded during the recruitment trip.

“When you are trained, you will be told about two grenades that you must have with you when you surrender. To those who on the first day of arrival say: “I don’t belong here”, we mark “deserter”, and after that, execution follows,”

Ukrainian Military Intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov previously said that Wagner mercenaries, initially conceived as an elite unit, are now relegated to serve as cannon fodder for the Russian military.

After the invading Russian forces took significant losses during the full-scale war of Ukraine, Russia began the recruitment of prisoners from Russian penal facilities into the ranks of mercenary companies, notably Wagner.

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