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'I was cannon fodder': Killer released from prison to fight for Russia on frontline

After serving 24 years in prison for a murder in 1999, Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, was one of many prisoners to commit to a

‘I was cannon fodder’: Killer released from prison to fight for Russia on the front lines surrenders to Ukrainian forces after realizing he was sent there to die

  • The convicted murderer was recruited by Putin after serving 24 years in prison
  • Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, was one of many prisoners who registered with a ‘private military contractor’
  • Nuzhin is now in the custody of the Ukrainian army after surrendering in Kyiv
  • Prisoners were offered their freedom if they survived six months of service

A convicted murderer recruited by Vladimir Putin to fight in Ukraine has traveled to Kyiv, claiming he was being used as “cannon fodder”.

After serving 24 years in prison for a murder in 1999, Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, was one of many prisoners to enlist with a “private military contractor”.

They were offered their freedom if they survived six months in service.

Nuzhin, currently in Ukrainian military custody, said he realized he was simply being sent to die when he and his unit were ordered to help find dead or injured Russian soldiers on the Lugansk battlefield this month.

After serving 24 years in prison for a murder in 1999, Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, was one of many prisoners to commit to a

After serving 24 years in prison for a murder in 1999, Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, was one of many prisoners who signed up with a ‘private military contractor’

He said he defected because training was poor and he had family in Ukraine.

He added: “As far as I understand, [we were] Cannon fodder. If you didn’t follow instructions, they would shoot you.

Nuzhin continued: “It was not Ukraine who attacked Russia, it was Putin who attacked Ukraine.

“I have relatives who live here. My uncle lives in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, and my sister lives in Lviv.

It is not yet clear what will happen to Nuzhin, whose wife and child are in Russia.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as Putin’s leader, is behind a desperate recruiting drive to provide a manpower boost to Russia’s botched invasion

Last week, video footage emerged of a pro-Kremlin restaurant tycoon behind the shadowy Wagner mercenary group offering inmates freedom and a possible pardon if they agree to fight.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as Putin’s leader, is behind a desperate recruiting drive to provide a manpower boost to Russia’s botched invasion.

US officials believe the 61-year-old Russian oligarch tried to recruit at least 1,500 convicted felons to join the fighting forces that have been dubbed the Kremlin’s private militia.

Monthly salaries of 100,000 rubles are offered, roughly equivalent to £1,500. A group of Ukrainian hackers, known as the IT Army of Ukraine, claimed to have obtained all the personal information of all Wagner mercenaries yesterday.

“Every executioner, murderer and rapist will be severely punished. Revenge is inevitable,” Ukrainian Minister for Digital Reform Mykhailo Fedorov said.

The Wagner Group is believed to have been involved in false flag attacks in eastern Ukraine designed to give Russia a pretext to attack.

They have also been linked to atrocities in the Ukrainian town of Bucha where mass graves were discovered after a Russian withdrawal in March with victims tortured.

Its fighters were also believed to have been involved in the first invasion of Ukraine in 2014, when Moscow illegally seized Crimea and Donbass, the industrial heartland in the east of the country.

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