A shocking video showing a Russian mercenary brandishing what he claims is the skull of a Ukrainian soldier killed in the battle for Azovstal iron and steel works has sparked outrage online.
The man, identified as pro-Putin fighter Igor Mangushev, called for the deaths of the Ukrainian population in a frenzied rant on stage.
The chilling video was shared by Ukrainian journalist Denys Kazanskyy and The Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security under the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.
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In the video, which features captioned translations, Mangushev said: “We don’t care how many we have to kill them. If we were at war with people we could make peace with them”
“But we are at war with the idea,” Mangushev continued, “so all bearers of an idea must be killed like this guy,” he said
He described Ukraine as an anti-Russian state and added: “There can be no peace. We must de-Ukrainise Ukraine”.
Mangushev waved the skull, he claimed is from a Ukrainian solider, as he said: “We’re alive and this guy’s already dead.
“Let him burn in hell.
“He wasn’t lucky. We’ll make a goblet out of his skull.”
As an audience member asked him if he was sure that the skull definitely hadn’t come from a civilian, Mangushev said: “This is definitely not a civilian, we killed him ourselves”
Another onlooker cried out: “Did he understand what the ‘Russian world’ is?”
Mangushev, looking again at the skull, said: “I think he did.”
It was also noted that Mangushev used the word “war” during his rant, a word that many Russian military and propagandists have not used, instead opting for Putin’s “special operation”.
Mangushev’s video sparked a fierce backlash online.
Ukrainian journalist Denys Kazanskyy tweeted: “In his speech, Mangushev said that Russia is at war with the Ukrainian idea, so all Ukrainians must be killed. Still think trading with Russia is a good idea?”
On Reddit, several commenters predicted that Mangushev would be a target for Ukrainian assassins after his shocking rant.
One wrote: “so are you guys thinking what I’m thinking about this dude’s future?” while another commented “I give it a week before a sniper or something much more explody in nature claims this vile trash”.
The Azovstal steel plant was the last stand of Ukrainian forces in the strategically-important city of Mariupol.
The city had been ravaged by Russian artillery barrages and airstrikes for weeks, causing thousands of casualties.
The Ukrainian rearguard was made up largely of elements of the Azov regiment, a former far-right militia that was incorporated into the Ukrainian army after the Russian invasion began.
The eventual collapse of Ukrainian resistance at the massive industrial facility was seen as a Russian victory, but Ukraine described it as a strategic win.
Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said: “Thanks to the defenders of Mariupol, Ukraine gained critically important time to form reserves and regroup forces and receive help from partners. And they fulfilled all their tasks. But it is impossible to unblock Azovstal by military means.”
After the last survivors surrendered, the Russian Ministry of Defence claimed that over 2,400 prisoners had been taken at Azovstal
In May, 53 seriously injured Ukrainian fighters surrendered at Azovstal and were taken to a medical facility in Donetsk.
Denis Pushilin, head of the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic, told Russian state television that preparations were being made for the Ukrainian soldiers to be put on trial.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made it clear that any trial would mean an end to all negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow.
Both the Russian and Ukrainian embassies have been contacted regarding the video.
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