The Times: Putin has sent mercenaries to Kyiv led by an admirer of the Nazis to murder Zelenskyy and the Klitschko brothers
The Times reports that more than 400 Russian mercenaries are operating in Kyiv on orders from the Kremlin to murder Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, members of the Government of Ukraine, and Kyiv's Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko and his brother Vladimir. The Wagner Group, according to many media outlets, is financed by Russian billionaire Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who is a close coworker of Putin's.
Putin's private army is led by Dmitry Utkin, who uses the cover name "Wagner". He was inspired by the German composer Richard Wagner, whose oeuvre was also admired by Adolf Hitler.
The Russian investigative news server Fontanka calls Utkin an adherent of the Nazis. On social media, photographs of Utkin are frequently shared showing his neck tattoo reading "SS" and an Imperial eagle on his chest.
Petr Horák, a Czech activist who has long been involved in monitoring the neo-Nazi scene in the Czech Republic and elsewhere has posted the following to Facebook: "I see there is still some speculation underway as to where the Nazis are in this whole situation and what needs to be de-Nazified. For me, it's obvious. Over the long-term horizon of the last 20 years, in Europe, it is Moscow where there have been clearly the most neo- Nazis, and their number there is comparable to the total number in the rest of Europe."
Horák reminds us that Putin has not just financed Utkin, but has also given him state honors on behalf of the Russian Federation. Utkin and other mercenaries are also known as "Rodnovery," believers in a neo-pagan "Slavic" faith based on racist ideology that incorporates symbols and rhetoric close to Bolshevism and Nazism.
The mercenaries have done the same in the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sudan and Syria. Russia has reportedly used hundreds of them to pursue its interests in Libya as well.
One such mercenary has testified to the callousness and cruelty of Putin's paramilitaries. According to Radio Free Europe, there is a rule among the Wagnerites that all their captives meet a certain death by torture.
"We have specialists who remove eyes," a member of the group testified about its crimes in Syria. "They take a spoon and dig around up and down until the eyeballs are just dangling there."
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