Russian Commander ‘Executed’ Following Mass Desertions of His Unit: Report


A Russian serviceman patrols a destroyed residential area in the city of Severodonetsk on July 12, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine. A Russian commander has reportedly been killed after members of his unit deserted en masse.OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

ARussian commander has reportedly died after members of his unit deserted from the front line en masse.

Russian independent news outlet The Insider reported the death of Viktor Sevalnev, a 43-year-old ex-convict who was recruited by the Wagner Group, a mercenary outfit, for Vladimir Putin‘s war in Ukraine.

The outlet cited information it obtained from Vladimir Osechkin, a Russian human rights activist who runs the anti-corruption website

Sevalnev headed the 7th motorized rifle company of the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine, and had been hospitalized after sustaining injuries in battle.

The Insider said a recorded conversation between Sevalnev and his wife in November revealed that he had been threatened with execution because soldiers in his unit had deserted.

“Don’t send people here…they want to kill everyone,” he said in a phone call with his wife Lilia, according to the report.

“Today it’s me, tomorrow another, that’s all. We’re just murder material [to them]. The Ministry of Defense executes people. They know that we’re [dead men] and they don’t give a damn,” he also reportedly said.

According to the news outlet, in November, Sevalnev’s unit sustained heavy losses, some soldiers were killed and the rest deserted.

His wife said she was told on December 1 that Sevalnev had died in the Donbas region on November 25 from shrapnel wounds and a powerful blow to the head.

However, Osechkin told the news outlet he has doubts about the Kremlin’s version of events. He said he believes that Sevalnev could have been “executed” for the desertion of his subordinates.

Newsweek has been unable to independently verify Osechkin’s claims, and has contacted Russia’s foreign ministry for comment.

Osechkin pointed to the recent death of another former convict, Yevgeny Nuzhin, who had been recruited in July by the Wagner Group, which was founded by Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Footage of his killing was published last month by the Wagner-linked Telegram channel Grey Zone. The clip showed an unidentified man hitting Nuzhin, 55, with a sledgehammer.

Nuzhin had given a string of interviews in Ukraine after he was captured by Ukrainian forces in September, in which he criticized Russian officials and said he wanted to switch sides.

Nuzhin’s son, Ilya, told Osechkin’s in November that his family was “horrified” to learn of his death.

“Our whole family was in tears watching the video … he was murdered like an animal,” the 55-year-old’s son said.

Prigozhin said the footage was “excellent directorial work that’s watchable in one sitting” while Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “it was not our business.”

Prigozhin denied reports of Sevalnev’s murder when pressed on the matter by He also denied that Sevalnev had been recruited by the Wagner Group.

Update 12/05/22, 8:30 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include additional background information.


  1. “Today it’s me, tomorrow another, that’s all. We’re just murder material [to them]. The Ministry of Defense executes people. They know that we’re [dead men] and they don’t give a damn,”

    It’s not easy to digest the fact that such evil exists in our midst in the 21st century. It’s also not easy to imagine that anyone would follow evil orders from the crime syndicate. This goes to show anyone the state of mind in mafia land. It’s a dangerous entity that must be stopped, like the other dangerous entity that was known as Nazi Germany.

  2. The poison goes all the way to their marrow in these genocidal zombies. May they be cut down like tares and burned like chaff.

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