Pro-Putin mercenary who brandished the “skull of a dead Ukrainian” in front of the crowd and called for the killing of civilians is shot in the head after a possible “warning hit” and is “in serious condition”.
- Russian mercenary Ivor Mangushev, 36, was shot in the head during an attack
- Experts believe that “the hit” could be a warning to Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner’s boss
- In August, Mangushev was beaten for waving the skull of a Ukrainian soldier on stage
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A Russian propagandist-turned-mercenary has been shot in the head in an attack analysts have suggested could warn the leader of Russia’s mercenary group Wagner — which is growing in power.
Igor Mangushev, 36, was famous as one of Russia’s best-known TV spin doctors before enlisting in the army, going by the nickname of Bereg.
In the early hours of Saturday, Mangushev was rushed to a hospital in Stakhanov in Russia’s eastern Donetsk region with a gunshot wound to the head, The Telegraph reports.
Graphic images showing Mangushev lying bloodied on a hospital bed were shared on social media by his friend Boris Rozhkin, who has described his condition as “severe”.
Doctors reportedly determined he was shot point-blank by someone with a pistol. Further details of the attack are not known at this time.
Pro-Putin activist Mangushev swore in his sick swearword, “We’ll make a goblet out of your skull.”
Russia expert Mark Galeotti said that Mangushev’s ties to Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of private military company Wagner, are significant and this could be a “proxy attack”.
Galeotti said: “I think we can safely call this a hit.
“This could be a warning, or taking a pawn off the board, or a sign that Mr. Prigozhin’s more brutal rivals feel he’s weakened enough to move.”
Mangushev claimed that the skull belonged to a soldier of the Azov regiment killed in Mariupol
Mangushev sparked disgust last August when footage emerged of him apparently waving on stage with the skull of a Ukrainian soldier killed in Mariupol.
The twisted ultranationalist said: “Why can’t there be reconciliation?
“Ukraine must be de-Ukrainized.
“The Russian lands of Novorossiya must be returned.
“We are not at war with men of blood and flesh. We are at war with an idea – Ukraine as an anti-Russian state.”
Holding the skull, he was quoted by Astra media as saying: “We are alive and this guy is already dead.
“Let him burn in hell.
“He wasn’t lucky. We’ll make a goblet out of his skull.”
The address of the Ukrainian war veteran came to an unconfirmed location at an unknown time
Mangushev is said to have fought in Ukraine during the Russian invasion that began in February
The pro-Putin ultranationalist, pictured wearing a Russian Army Z-hat, has a 14-year-old daughter
On his Telegram channel, Mangushev openly calls for the killing of civilians.
“We will burn down your houses, kill your families, take away your children and raise them to be Russians,” he posted.
Mangushev reportedly fights against Ukraine, but is also the leader of the nationalist movement Light Russia and the founder of a private army, ENOT, which is said to have ties to the FSB.
The performance with a human skull violated at least one article – 244 – of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: “Desecration of the corpses”.
It is also a war crime under international law.
The location and time of the video recording were not clear and could not be independently verified.