June 6, 2023

Dubai Week

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Two “former commanders” in Russia’s Wagner admit killing children and civilians in Ukraine

Two Russian men who claimed to be former leaders of the Russian Wagner Group spoke to a human rights activist and admitted to killing children and civilians during their time in Ukraine, CNN reported.

On Tuesday, the news network said the allegations came in video interviews on the website of “Kolako,” a human rights organization that aims to monitor corruption and torture in Russia.

Two former Russian criminals, Azamat Oldarov and Alexei Savichev, pardoned by Russian presidential decrees last year, described their actions in Ukraine during the Russian invasion in video interviews posted online.

But CNN could not independently verify their claims or their identities in the videos, but said it had obtained Russian sentencing documents showing their release under a presidential pardon in September and August 2022.

Uldarov explains how he shot and killed a five- or six-year-old girl. “It is an administrative decision to kill anyone in my path, and I am not allowed to leave anyone alive,” he said.

In the same interview, according to CNN, Savishev described how “anyone 15 years of age or older was ordered to be hanged.”

He also spoke of receiving orders to break into and “sweep” some houses, with the aim of making sure no one was alive inside.

According to the network, Savichev said Wagner fighters who did not follow orders were killed.

“Kolako” organization reported that Russian founder and dissident Vladimir Usyshkin was issued with certificates within a week. Uldarov and Savitsev were in Russia when they spoke, he said.

And “CNN” said Oldorf spoke about the motive behind the interview: “I want Russia and other countries to know the truth. I don’t want war and bloodshed.”

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And the Wagner Group, as reported by “CNN”, is a private Russian mercenary organization fighting in Ukraine, led by the Russian oligarch, Yevgeny Prigozhin, that is, from a minority of wealthy businessmen.

Wagner recruited tens of thousands of fighters from Russian prisons and offered them freedom and money after a six-month military tour, according to the network.

Western intelligence officials and prison advocacy groups estimate between 40,000 and 50,000 men were recruited, according to CNN.

Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group, confirmed on his channel on the “Telegram” app that he had seen parts of the video and threatened to take revenge on former Wagner fighters, according to the network.