Following the news that the European Parliament voted to declare Russia a state sponsor of terrorism and the private mercenary group Wagner a terrorist entity, the leader of the organization mocked the decision and initiated a social media stunt that involved the reported delivery of a (fake) blood-stained sledgehammer to a representative of the European Parliament.
When asked by Politico if he had heard about the European Parliament’s decision – which saw Members of the European Parliament adopt the resolution on Wednesday – Yevgeny Prigozhin joked that he had held a meeting with commanders of the Wagner Group and decided to “declare the European Parliament dissolved.”
“But before this procedure enters into legal force, I have been instructed to submit an information case to the European Parliament,” Prigozhin said.
Soon after, a video emerged on the platform Telegram showing a representative of Prigozhin allegedly handing over a violin case containing a sledgehammer engraved with the Wagner Group logo and stained in blood, which was reported to be fake blood.
The video was shared on Twitter by Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The video appears to be staged, and there has been no confirmation that the man seen in the video was a representative of the European Parliament.
Why A Sledgehammer?
The sledgehammer appears to be a reference to a shocking video shared on the Grey Zone Telegram channel earlier this month that showed a former Wagner Group mercenary who defected to the Ukrainians being killed with a sledgehammer.
The disturbing video, which first appeared on Telegram, showed a man with his head taped to a wall.
He identified himself as Yevgeny Nuzhin and said that he was 55 years old. In the video, he described how he had been “hit over the head” and lost consciousness before waking up in a cellar.
“I got hit over the head and lost consciousness and came around in this cellar,” the man said. “They told me I was to be tried.”
As Nuzhin speaks, a man behind him wearing camouflage smashes a sledgehammer into his head and neck. Nuzhin falls to the ground and is then executed with a final blow to the head using the hammer.
The video, which was titled “Hammer of Retribution,” was initially unverified. The following day, however, Prigozhin praised the video for the “excellent directorial work,” and suggested it should have been titled “Dog’s death to a dog.”
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.
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