Pro-Putin mercenary who waved the ‘skull of a dead Ukrainian’ in front of crowd and called for the killing of civilians is shot in the head and ‘in grave condition’ following possible ‘warning hit’
- Russian mercenary Ivor Mangushev, 36, has been shot in the head in an attack
- Experts suggest ‘the hit’ could be warning to Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Wagner
- In August, Mangushev was blasted for waving a Ukrainian soldier’s skull on stage
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A Russian propogandist turned fighter-for-hire has been shot in the head in an attack which analysts have hinted may be warning to the leader of Russia’s mercenary Wagner group – which is growing in power.
Igor Mangushev, 36, was famed as one of Russia’s most recognisable TV spin doctors before going into the army using the call name of Bereg.
In the early hours of Saturday, Mangushev was taken to hospital in Stakhanov in Russia’s eastern Donetsk region with a gunshot wound to the head, The Telegraph reports.
Graphic pictures showing Mangushev lying bloodied on a hospital bed have been shared on social media by his friend Boris Rozhkin, who has described his condition as ‘grave’.
Doctors are said to have determined he was shot at close range by someone using a handgun. No further details of the attack are known at present.
Pro-Putin activist Mangushev vowed in his sick rant: ‘We’ll make a goblet out of your skull’
Russia expert Mark Galeotti said that Mangushev’s links with Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of the private military contractor Wagner, are significant and this could be a ‘proxy attack’.
Galeotti said: ‘I think we can safely describe this as a hit.
‘This could be a warning, or taking a pawn off the board, or a sign that Mr Prigozhin’s more thuggish rivals feel he is weakened enough that they can move.’
Mangushev claimed the skull had belonged to an Azov regiment soldier killed in Mariupol
Mangushev provoked revulsion last August, when footage emerged of him apparently waving the skull of a Ukrainian soldier killed in Mariupol on stage.
The twisted ultranationalist said: ‘Why can’t there be any reconciliation?
‘Ukraine must be de-Ukrainized.
‘The Russian lands of Novorossiya must be returned back.
‘We are not at war with people 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’re 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 Ukraine war veteran’s address came at an unconfirmed location at an unknown date
Mangushev is thought to have fought in Ukraine in Russia’s invasion, which began in February
The pro-Putin ultranationalist, pictured in a Russian army ‘Z’ hat, has a 14-year-old daughter
In his Telegram channel, Mangushev openly calls for the killing of civilians.
‘We will burn your houses, kill your families, take away your children and raise them Russians,’ he posted.
Mangushev is supposedly fighting against Ukraine but is also the head of nationalist movement Light Russia and a creator of a private army ENOT which is said to have links 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 bodies of the dead’.
It is also a war crime in international law.
The location and timing of the video’s recording was not clear and could not be independently verified.