UPDATE: Wagner boss responds sarcastically to alleged video of his men beating a defector to death with sledgehammer

A convicted murderer who was recruited into the Wagner Group of mercenaries was beaten to death by his colleagues with a sledgehammer after he had surrendered but been returned to Russia.

UPDATE: Monday, November 14 at 03:58am

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the boss of Wagner PMC, today, Monday, November 14, gave his response to a video titled ‘Hammer of Retribution’ that was posted on a pro-Wagner Telegram channel yesterday, Sunday 13.

It purportedly showed one of his men smashing in the head of Yevgeny Nuzhin, a fellow mercenary, with a sledgehammer after he had attempted to defect and fight for Ukraine.

The press service of his Concord company quoted Prigozhin as commenting: “I prefer to watch history in the theatre. As for the sledgehammer, in this show, it is clear that he did not find happiness in Ukraine, but met with unkind, but fair people. It seems to me that this film is called ‘To the Dog – Dog’s Death'”.

“Great directorial work, looks like it was made in one take. I hope not a single animal was harmed during the filming”, he added sarcastically, according to fontanka.ru.

Posting on Telegram, Ilya Nuzhin, the son of the man executed in the video said about the video: “I don’t understand one thing: how was he in Kyiv and suddenly found himself at Wagner’s? Either the Khokhlys have a Wagner sabotage group under their noses – which is unlikely – or the Khokhlys sold him out, or they killed him themselves! Let them burn in hell”.

Posts appearing on social networks claimed that Yevgeny Nuzhin could possibly have been handed over to Wagner PMC as part of a prisoner exchange. It is alleged that the PMC has its own exchange fund, and they do not publicly advertise the results of the exchanges.

Sunday, November 13 at 8:13pm

A graphic video posted on the pro-Russian Grey Zone Telegram channel this Sunday, November, 13, shows Yevgeny Nuzhin speaking with the camera. He was a Wagner Group mercenary who surrendered and was subsequently beaten to death with a sledgehammer by his own colleagues as retribution.

The convicted 55-year-old murderer was serving 24 years but had been released from prison this summer and recruited into the notorious Wagner Group. It was previously reported that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the organisation, had allegedly been touring Russian prisons and conscripting serving prisoners into his army of misfits.

Nuzhin was subsequently sent to the Ukrainian front but quickly decided he was going to surrender. Back in September, he told a journalist that he had family living in Ukraine and that he felt like he was just being used as ‘cannon fodder’ by Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to the camera, Nuzhin said: “I am Yevgeny Anatolievich Nuzhin, born in 1967, who went to the front to go to the side of Ukraine to fight against the Russians. On 4 September, I carried out my plan to go over to the side of Ukraine”, 

“On 11 November 2022, I was on the streets of Kyiv, where received a blow to the head, as a result of which I lost consciousness. I woke up in this basement, where I was told that I was going to be tried”, he explained.

Nuzhim can be seen in the video footage – which is too graphic to be shown here – with his head wrapped in cling film and attached to a pile of bricks. After giving his dialogue to the camera he was then hit several times with a sledgehammer. “Those who understand know that a sledgehammer and traitors have a close relationship”, said audio accompanying the footage.

“Suddenly disappearing from the investigation in Kyiv, the traitor received traditional primordial Wagnerian punishment”, the Grey Zone voice added, as reported by dailymail.co.uk.

It would seem highly unlikely that a mercenary who had defected to Ukraine could be so easily kidnapped from Kyiv and taken back to Russia, but that is the claim made by the Grey Zone. Many have speculated that the video was elaborately scripted by the Wagner Group to deter others from attempting to surrender.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com