Two men who claimed to be former leaders of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner told an exiled group of human rights activists that they had killed children and civilians on the eastern Ukrainian border.
The video interviews were posted by Gulagu.net. This French organisation reports on corruption in Russia.
Warning: The information in this article may be distressing to some readers.
Azamatuldarov, and Alexey Savich were both recruited as prisoner and now pardoned through presidential decree.
Wagner recruited a large number of prisoners to help Russia’s battered military.
The interviews in which they describe their actions lasted an hour and were recorded over a period of one week.
Men claim that the atrocities they committed took place in Soledar, Bakhmut and the Donetsk area where fighting is particularly brutal.
In their statements, they discussed the horrifying conditions and the use torture.
Uldarov even described killing a young girl.
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“She’s screaming. She’s a small child, you know. Five or six years old. You know, I fired a shot that killed her. You know that I was not supposed to let anyone go. You know I wasn’t supposed to let anyone out. The order was for a sweep to eliminate anyone who stood in my way.
Savich went into gruesome detail on how the group cleared houses.
“We’ve got a f**king eviction order. To f**king clear out completely. You get it – just clear out. You know what it means. Nothing about leading the civilians out, or anything like that. Clear out the house. Who was there? I didn’t f***ing care.”
The men claim that their orders came directly from the leader of the group Yevgeny Prgozhin.
They claim that guilt motivated them to testify.
Savich described the punishments for refusing to obey his orders in a chilling way – “heads tied to genitals”, “buttocks torn” and then handed over to Federal Security Service, never to be seen ever again.
Since the publication of the accounts, Prigozhin denied that the group was responsible.
The men seem to have recanted their confessions since the video was released, but the founder Gulaga.net claims that both men received death threats after going public with their accusations.
Wagner is a mercenary private group that was responsible for much of the most intense fighting in Ukraine.
Many of the members are former prisoners, including murderers and rapists.