A pro-Kremlin militia is advocating for the murder and torture of Ukrainian prisoners, per The Guardian.
"Task Force Rusich" advocated for "removing body parts" of POWs in a Telegram message, the paper said.
The group is described by the US Treasury as a "neo-Nazi paramilitary group."
A pro-Kremlin, neo-Nazi militia group is advocating for the murder and torture of Ukrainian prisoners of war, according to The Guardian.
The "Task Force Rusich," which has been linked to the infamous Russian private military contractor, Wagner Group, is fighting in Ukraine on behalf of the Russian government, The Guardian reported.
A message published on Rusich's Telegram channel on September 22 offers instructions on how to treat Ukrainian prisoners of war, including grisly instructions on how to torture them and dispose of their bodies, the newspaper said.
The message advocates for "removing body parts" and the "destruction of prisoners on the spot," per The Guardian.
It includes specific instructions on murdering Ukrainian prisoners of war after they have been interrogated and advises against reporting Ukrainian captures to the pro-Kremlin command, The Guardian reported. If a report is necessary, the message said, it should falsely claim that the prisoner was already injured or dying, per the newspaper.
The message also encourages blackmailing the families of captured prisoners into paying Rusich in order to receive the coordinates of where their family member's body is located, The Guardian said.
"Rusich, an openly neo-Nazi group highly likely operating on behalf of the Kremlin, has promoted the commission of war crimes in the conflict," said Adam Hadley, executive director of Tech Against Terrorism, per The Guardian.
"Despite Putin's claims, the actions of Rusich in the conflict demonstrate the concerning prominence of neo-Nazi groups committing atrocities on behalf of the Kremlin," Hadley continued.
Rusich is described by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) as a "neo-Nazi paramilitary group that has participated in combat alongside Russia's military in Ukraine, including near Kharkiv, in 2022."
In 2015, Rusich mercenaries fought alongside pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas, per The Times. The newspaper said that they were filmed mutilating and setting fire to corpses there. In Syria, where members of the group were later deployed, they were accused of dismembering a prisoner, The Times said.
Rusich members have also been pictured enacting the Nazi salute, per the newspaper. It stated that in April, it was operating in the Kharkiv region since recaptured by Ukrainian forces.
Rusich is a reference to a mythical fortress in ancient Russia, The Times said.
The group and its founders were included in the US sanctions list last month.
The neo-Nazi Rusich militia stands in stark contrast to President Putin's repeated claims that a key aim of the invasion was to "denazify" Ukraine.
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