Wagner's Prigozhin gives bloody sledgehammer to EU for terror designation

One Russian extremist group sent a gruesome "gift" to EU Parliament members.

 Visitors pose for a picture outside PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/IGOR RUSSAK)
Visitors pose for a picture outside PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/IGOR RUSSAK)

Wagner mercenary group head Yevgeny Prigozhin gave a sledgehammer covered in fake blood to a European Parliament representative on Thursday morning in response to an initiative to designate the PMC as a terrorist organization, according to a Telegram group connected to the mercenaries.

Prigozhin sent the sledgehammer in a violin case as an "information case" to those voting in EU Parliament. The Putin ally said that he had held a meeting with Wagner Group commanders, and they had decided to declare the European Parliament "dissolved."

"Before this procedure enters into legal force, I have been instructed to submit an information case to the European Parliament,” Prigozhin said.

Earlier in November, a video of a sledgehammer execution of a Russian soldier who defected to the Ukrainian side of the conflict had circulated on social media. Following this, the EU parliament voted to identify the Wagner group as a terrorist organization. Pro-Russian bloggers said it was revenge for his alleged treachery.

"I prefer to watch this story in the theatre. As for the executed, in this show it is clear that he did not find happiness in Ukraine, but instead met with unkind, although fair people. It seems to me that this film is called 'The dog receives the dog’s death.'"

Yevgeny Prigozhin, via Telegram

The victim of the sledgehammer incident was abducted in Kyiv and brought back across state lines before being hit multiple times in the side of the head and neck. In an unverified video, the victim, identified as Yevgenny Nuzhin, 55, was recorded giving his final words, detailing the circumstances that put him there and foreshadowed what was to come.

"I got hit over the head and lost consciousness and came around in this cellar," he said. "They told me I was to be tried." Immediately after, he received multiple blows from an unidentified man in camouflage. Nuzhin collapsed onto the floor and the unidentified man delivered another blow to his head.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the video, which the Grey Zone Telegram channel entitled "The hammer of revenge."

It was also unclear how Nuzhin, who told Ukrainian media in September that he wanted to fight for Ukraine, ended up in the hands of what appear to be Russian forces.

The EU parliament voted on Wednesday to declare Russia as a state-sponsor of terrorism.

The European Parliament argued that Moscow's military strikes on civilian targets such as energy infrastructure, hospitals, schools and shelters violate international law.

 Visitors gather outside PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/IGOR RUSSAK) Visitors gather outside PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/IGOR RUSSAK)

The move is largely symbolic as the European Union does not have a legal framework in place to enforce consequent legal action. At the same time, the bloc has already slapped unprecedented sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Who are the Wagner mercenary group?

The Wagner mercenary group is a private military group with close ties to the Kremlin. They are known for fighting in areas disputed between Russia and Ukraine over control. Though they are based in Europe, they have been known to fight in Syria as well as north and sub-Saharan Africa.

In a Telegram post following the sledgehammer incident, Prigozhin wrote, "I prefer to watch this story in the theatre. As for the executed, in this show it is clear that he did not find happiness in Ukraine, but instead met with unkind, although fair people. It seems to me that this film is called 'The dog receives the dog’s death.'"