Russian Wagner video depicts a new, heinous murder of a "traitor" during the Ukraine War

Video capture of Dmitry Yakushchenko

A video purportedly depicting the brutal murder of one of its soldiers who defected to the Ukrainians has been released by the Russian Wagner mercenary group.

The soldier is seen giving his name and the specifics of his recruitment in the video, which is posted on the Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel Grey Zone, before a man strikes him with a sledgehammer in a cellar.

Three months ago, Wagner published a video of an analogous "execution" using a sledgehammer.

Wagner is engaged in fierce fighting in Ukraine with thousands of soldiers.

The organization, which describes itself as a private military company, started operating in Crimea in 2014.

Since then, it has been alleged to have engaged in brutality and war crimes while operating in Syria, other regions of Ukraine, and Africa.

The following description may be upsetting to you.

Grey Zone identified the alleged "traitor" as 44-year-old Dmitry Yakushchenko, who was born in Crimea and defected to Ukraine four days after joining the Wagner fighting force.

The first segment of the video showed him being held captive in Ukraine; according to the BBC, the clip was taken from the Ukrainian channel Espreso. TV.

In it, Yakushchenko predicted that in a few years, Ukraine might regain control of Crimea.

He had previously been imprisoned for murder, but he had seized the opportunity to defend Wagner in order to get out. It is well known that Wagner hired men from Russian prisons.

The image of Yakushchenko sitting in a cellar with his head taped to building materials leaning up against a stone wall is then cut to.

Behind him is a different man who is holding a sledgehammer. "Trial for treachery," the caption for the image reads.

Yakushchenko appears to be describing how he was apprehended after defecting when, in the moments just prior to his death, he claims to have been struck on the head by assailants in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

After going unconscious, he came to "where I was told I would be tried" when he later awoke in the cellar.

The video becomes hazy as the first hammer blow is delivered, and Yakushchenko starts to regress. After a few more blows, the caption "the court session is adjourned" appears.

Regarding Yakushchenko's passing, the Grey Zone post makes a sarcastic allusion to Yevgeny Nuzhin, who was also a former prisoner, who was "executed" by Wagner in November.

According to the post, like his colleague Yevgeny Nuzhin before him, he contracted the illness that causes people to pass out in Ukrainian cities, first in Kyiv and now in Dnipro, before awakening in a basement during their final court appearance.

The location and timing of the video's filming were not mentioned in either the text or the video.

Since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine a year ago, the mysterious mercenary group has taken on a more public persona, even opening a sizable headquarters in St. Petersburg.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Wagner, has a history of working with the Kremlin and has earned the moniker "Putin's chef" for his work catering events for the Russian aristocracy and military.

He downplayed the contribution of the Russian army and credited Wagner for the assault on Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

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