Russian mercenary leader threatens war crimes in terrifying "kill all" rant

Moscow, Russia - The head of the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has threatened to kill all Ukrainian prisoners of war taken in the conflict in a message put out on the Telegram channel of his press service.

The head of the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has threatened to kill all Ukrainian prisoners of war taken in the conflict.
The head of the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has threatened to kill all Ukrainian prisoners of war taken in the conflict.  © REUTERS

"We will simply destroy all on the battlefield," Prigozhin said on Sunday. He justified the threat by reference to an intercepted Ukrainian radio message in which the shooting of injured Wagner mercenaries out of hand was discussed.

Prigozhin accused Kyiv of violating international law. Prisoners of war were entitled to being provided for under secure conditions, he said, adding that, as he respected this, his forces would stop taking POWs.

"We will kill all on the battlefield and no longer take prisoners," he said. That would constitute a war crime, according to international law.

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The Wagner Group has been active primarily in the destroyed city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where the bloodiest fighting in the war is currently taking place. The private army is accused of using its recruits, many of them convicts taken from Russian prisons, as cannon fodder.

Wagner Group fighters have also been alleged to have committed war crimes in Ukraine, as well as other countries where they are present.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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