Russian murderer freed to fight Ukraine surrenders as he was ‘cannon fodder’

A convicted murderer from Russia who spent almost a quarter of a century in jail before he was released to fight in Ukraine has surrendered.

Yevgeny Nuzhin, 55, handed himself over to defending forces claiming he was "cannon fodder".

He was in prison following a killing in 1999 but was given his shot at freedom by signing up with a "private military contractor".

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All he had to do was survive six months of service and he would be a free man.

He’s now a prisoner of Ukraine, handing himself over to Kyiv’s forces after he realised he had been sent to die in a foreign land,MailOnlinereports.

He claims his unit, on the front in Luhansk, was ordered to head out onto the battlefield looking for dead or wounded Russian troops.

His decision to defect came partly from his claim that he had family in Ukraine and because he was sent to war with poor levels of training and preparation despite the mammoth task of fighting.

“As far as I understood, [we were] cannon fodder. If you didn’t follow instructions, they would shoot you,” he said.

“It was not Ukraine that attacked Russia, it was Putin who attacked Ukraine.

“I have relatives who live here. My uncle lives in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, and my sister lives in Lviv.”

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Nuzhin’s wife and child are still in Russia and it is not yet clear what his fate will be.

Recruitment drives are known to have been ongoing in Russia in recent weeks, with a man known as ‘Putin’s Chef’ having featured in a video that appears to show him speaking to inmates in a jail – offering them freedom in exchange for military service.

Catering magnate Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is also thought to be behind mercenary fighting company the Wagner Group, is estimated by US officials to have tried to recruit some 1,500 convicts – offering them the equivalent of £1,500 to head to Ukraine.

“We were in training for seven days, the 7th squad was an assault unit,” Nuzhin said. He claimed Prigozhin had been to his prison.

“I don't even know how to explain the task of assault squads, I realised for myself – cannon fodder."

He added: “I cannot go to war against my relatives, my sister, my uncle, my daughter.”

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