VLADIMIR Putin’s ruthless warlord has now started handing out sledgehammers to his troops after using them in a series of brutal executions.
A chilling picture shows the head of the Wagner Group of mercenaries Yevgeny Prigozhin greeting Major-General Apti Alaudinov with a sledgehammer.
It comes after, Alaudinov who is the commander of the Akhmat special forces unit, was said to have survived an “assassination attempt.”
A week later, he was pictured posing up, holding a sledgehammer given to him by the brutal warlord.
The weapon has become a symbol of the Wagner group as it has been used in a number of executions including of its own fighters.
In the latest sick sledgehammer execution, the evil group shared footage of them attacking one of their own after they accused him of treason.
A chilling video shows, Dmitry Yakushchenko, 44, with his head taped to a block on the wall as a fighter with a sledgehammer stands behind him.
Dmitry had crossed the frontline to Ukraine and then was handed back to Russia in a prisoner swap.
The appalling video showed the man confessing after apparently being handed back to the Wagner Group.
Yakushchenko was filmed with his head taped to a block as he spoke the lines: “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]”, the fighter said.
However, doubt has been raised over the authenticity of the video, amid speculations the clip was staged.
The Wagner Group have since released more footage of Yakushchenko in which he claims he’s been “forgiven” for his “mistakes”.
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.
The same method was used on convicted murderer Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, who was bludgeoned to death with the same weapon back in November.
He is thought to have been killed “for treachery”.
Prigozhin previously sent the EU a bloody sledgehammer in a violin case after the union branded Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.
The Wagner Group is notorious for its brutal methods of torture and execution of its own fighters they claim have committed “treason”.
Any recruits that try to surrender, defect, escape or simply use their phones, have received a brutal punishment by Wagner’s commanders.
Their methods have included cutting off fingers, castrations, skinning prisoners alive or bludgeoning them with a sledgehammer.
Convicts have had fingers cut off for minor offences including using their mobile phones or speaking back to superiors, according to anti-torture NGO Gulagu.net.
If they try to escape or retreat, they are told they will be shot and the bodies of tortured soldiers are routinely burnt to hide the evidence.
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