April 18, 2023 at 19:07
CNN —Two Russian men who claim to be former Wagner Group commanders have told a human rights activist that they killed children and civilians during their time in Ukraine.
The claims were made in video interviews with Gulagu.net, a human rights organization targeting corruption and torture in Russia.
According to Gulagu.net, the testimonies were given to founder and Russian dissident Vladimir Osechkin over the span of a week.
I followed orders with this hand and killed children,” Uldarov said, describing his motivation for the interview.
The Wagner Group is a Russian private mercenary organization fighting in Ukraine, headed by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin.
It has recruited tens of thousands of fighters from Russian jails, offering freedom and cash after a six-month tour.
CNN has previously reported on former Wagner fighters making similar claims.
But I wanted to live, too.”Savichev said Wagner fighters who did not follow orders were killed.
Wagner Group chief Prigozhin confirmed on his Telegram channel that he had watched parts of the video, and threatened retribution against the two former Wagner fighters.
In February, CNN spoke to two former Wagner fighters who described how recruited Wagner convicts are pushed to the front lines in a human wave, reminiscent of World War I charges.
Deserters, or those who refuse orders are killed and there was no evacuation of the wounded, they said.
In January, US Treasury Department designated Wagner Group as a significant transnational criminal organization, and imposed a slew of fresh sanctions on a transnational network that supports it.