Wagner leader denies his group is behind video purportedly showing beheaded Ukrainian soldiers

Katharina Krebs

Wagner private military company leader Yevgeny Prigozhin has denied that his fighters were involved in a grisly video that purportedly shows Ukrainian soldiers who have been beheaded.

“I have watched this video. It’s bad when people’s heads are cut off, but I haven’t found anything to support that this is happening near Bakhmut and that Wagner fighters are participating in the execution,” he said in a statement published by his company Wednesday.

Prigozhin was responding to a question about a video that was posted to a pro-Russian social media channel on April 8, which appears to show the beheaded corpses of two Ukrainian soldiers lying on the ground next to a destroyed military vehicle.

Russian social media accounts say the video was shot near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, which has been the scene of the war’s fiercest fighting for many months, with Wagner fighters very heavily involved. CNN is unable to independently confirm the video’s location.

second video, which was posted on Twitter and is heavily blurred, looks to have been filmed during the summer because of the amount of plant life on the ground. It purports to show a Russian fighter using a knife to cut off the head of a Ukrainian soldier. A voice at the beginning of the video suggests the victim might have still been alive when the attack began.

CNN’s Vasco Cotovio, Andy Carey, Josh Pennington and Yulia Kesaieva contributed reporting to this post.

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