A convicted murderer released from prison to fight for Russia has been brutally executed with a sledgehammer by Vladimir Putin’s Wagner group after he defected to Ukraine.
Sickening footage shows Dmitry Yakushchenko, 44, with his head taped to a pile of bricks before he was bludgeoned to death. The video is far too graphic to publish.
Yakushchenko crossed the frontline to Ukraine, and then was handed back to Russia in a prisoner swap.
The appalling video shows him confessing after apparently being handed back to the notorious pro-Putin Wagner private army.
A man with a sledgehammer stands behind him.
The fighter says: “Today I was in the streets of Dnipro, where I received a blow to the head and lost consciousness.
“I woke up in this room where I was told that I was going to be tried [for desertion].”
At this moment he is hit in the head by the sledgehammer .
The footage is then blurred but he appears to be hit twice more.
Reports in Russia say that Yakushchenko was a convicted murderer and robber who had been released from a 19-year jail sentence to fight in the war in Ukraine.
The killing is similar to a case exactly three months ago when convicted murderer Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, was bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer.
He too had been handed back by the Ukrainians in an official prisoner swap, only to be passed back to Wagner which then took the law in their own hands.
Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close Putin henchman, has previously threatened to kill “traitors” who leave the front line, and defended the murder of Nuzhin, as did Putin’s propagandists.
Yakushchenko, from Crimea, was initially recorded by the Ukrainians explaining how he escaped after being put on the frontline.
“I planned to find some way to escape,” he said.
“My fourth day started, I took my machine gun, some magazines, [and] a couple of grenades….
“I crawled somewhere and lay down until the shooting stopped, drones were flying.”
He kept moving his position and he “turned out to be on the Ukrainian side”.
He urged any Russians in a similar position to defect too.
And he hoped Crimea would return to Ukraine, he told his interrogators.
The Ukrainians included Yakushchenko in a major prisoner swap earlier this month which also saw Russia hand back the bodies of British aid workers Chris Parry, 28, and colleague Andrew Bagshaw, 47, according to Cheka-OGPU Telegram channel.
Yakushchenko appears to have been convicted of murder in Crimea when it was still under Ukrainian control, prior to its annexation by Putin in 2014.
He was then transferred to a jail in Engels in Russia.
It was from here he was recruited as part of the Russian scheme to free killers, rapists and other criminals to fight against Ukraine, offering them a pardon if they survive for six months.