Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has vowed to find a “traitor” who switched sides to fight with Russian anti-Kremlin fighters, saying he hopes to “kill him in a fair fight.”

According to the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), which is fighting on the side of Ukraine, a number of POWs captured in recent days were given the option to defect, with at least one taking up the offer.

In a statement released on June 11, the RDK said: “All soldiers were offered the opportunity to voluntarily join the Russian Volunteer Corps.

“One of the captives, Vladislav Izmailov, who used to fight in the ranks of Wagner PWC, refused to be exchanged and expressed his desire to become an RDK fighter.

“After appropriate checks, we will be happy to allow Vlad to fight in our ranks.”

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Prigozhin confirmed that one of his fighters taken prisoner refused to be exchanged and went over to the ranks of the Russian Volunteer Corps. In a commentary to the press service, he specified that the serviceman a Russian, Vladislav Izmailov, is a former prisoner.

“Indeed, Vladislav Izmailov came to the Wagner PMC from the Samara penal colony and was captured in November,” Prigozhin said.

He called Izmailov a “traitor” and hinted at Wagner “traditional” method of reprisal in the PMCs in such cases – a sledgehammer.

“Vladislav Izmailov is a traitor. And I am sure that he will suffer a decent punishment in accordance with all the traditions of the Wagner PMC. I hope we will find and kill him in a fair fight,” the Wagner head added.

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On Nov. 13, 2022, a video was released online in which Russian citizen Yevgeny Nuzhin – a Wagner fighter who had been recruited from a penal colony then taken prisoner by Ukrainians, after which he was returned back to Russia in exchange for Ukrainian POWs – was brutally executed without trial by duct-taping his head to a cinder block and smashing it with a sledgehammer.

Prigozhin later confirmed that the execution was the work of his mercenaries. Through such public execution videos, Wagner is trying to discourage its fighters from surrendering and taking the Ukrainian side.

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The RDK commander also invited all other fighters from the Wagner and other mercenary and groups to join his unit. Kapustin also mentioned the order of the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to which all “Russian volunteers” must sign contracts with the Defense Ministry by July 1.

“With respect to the decree of the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, we invite all the fighters of the ‘Wagner’ PMC and other private paramilitary units, who are ready to fight for the new Russia against Putin’s bloody gang, to follow Vladislav’s example!”

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