Murderer Tekhov freed to fight as Putin tries to boost Ukraine numbers

Putin’s killers: Husband who murdered his ex-wife in frenzied knife attack is fighting for Russia in Ukraine after being freed from prison in desperate bid to boost troop numbers

  • Footage of released murderer shows Russia freeing offenders to fight in Ukraine 
  • Putin signed a law two weeks ago to allow for the conscription of convicts 
  • Wagner Group mercenaries were filmed trying to recruit prisoners in September

New evidence suggests Putin has freed violent offenders to boost troop numbers in Ukraine.

Vadim Tekhov, 33, was sentenced to 16 years in prison last year for the brutal murder of his ex-wife, Regina Gagieva.

But footage of him being detained by police in November 2022 has brought to light reports that he had been released early to fight with a ‘special regiment’ of the Defence Ministry in Ukraine.

Tekhov, a former policeman, confronted the mother of his child in a shop in Vladikavkaz, Russia, over alleged text conversations with other men.

When Ms Gagieva refused to unlock her phone for him, Tekhov stabbed her several times across the neck and upper body.

Gagieva died in hospital, and Tekhov was jailed after it emerged his ex-wife had approached the authorities several times with domestic abuse allegations.

The story was widely reported in Russia last year, causing public outcry.

Tekhov detained in Russia in November 2022, less than a year after he was jailed for murder

22-year-old mother of one Regina Gagieva, killed by her ex-husband Vadim Tekhov

The moment Tekhov, 33, attacked his former wife Regina Gagieva, 22, with a knife in 2021

Tekhov’s presence among hundreds of murderers released to bolster the Russian army only came to light because he was re-arrested on suspected drugs offences, amid a claim he intended to supply narcotics to other soldiers.

In a video of his interrogation, Tekhov claims he was detained for drunkenness.  

The overall number of inmates now released for the war is reported as high as 35,000. 

The evidence of Tekhov’s brutal attack caused public outcry in Russia last year

Independent Russian outlet Mediazona reported yesterday that the number of prisoners in Russian correctional colonies had fallen by 23,000 between September and October as Putin looked to recruit new troops to support his war effort.

The publication notes the fall in the prison population ‘occurs against the background of the recruitment of prisoners to participate in the war in the detachments of the Wagner PMC, which entirely exist outside the legal field.’

On 6 November, Putin signed a new law into effect allowing the conscription of imprisoned convicts.

Russian private mercenary organisation Wagner Group, themselves accused of war crimes, were shown attempting to recruit prisoners to fight in Ukraine in September.

Oligarch and Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, 61, was filmed offering a pardon to violent criminals and sex offenders locked up in a Russian prison if they survived fighting in Ukraine for six months.

Prigozhin told prisoners they should take their own lives instead of being captured in Ukraine, holding one grenade for the enemy and one for themselves.

A secretly filmed video shows Prigozhin admit that he represents the Wagner private army, deployed by Putin in Ukraine.

He previously denied a link to Wagner which is known to have already recruited thousands of inmates as Russia deploys its most dangerous prisoners as fighters.

‘I am a representative of a private war company, perhaps you heard the name – Wagner Group,’ he told the assembled prison inmates.

He continued: ‘The first sin is deserting. No-one deserts, no-one gives up, no-one surrenders. You’ll be taught what to do regarding surrender.’ 

On 29 July 2022, a Russian-operated prison in Molodizhne, Donetsk Oblast Ukraine, was destroyed, killing more than 50 Ukrainian prisoners. 

Ukraine claimed Russia attacked its own penal colony ‘to cover up war crimes’.

Regina Gagieva, 22, died from 15 wounds inflicted with a kitchen knife, causing public outcry

Russia has relied on its large prison population to support previous wars. 

Soviet leader Josef Stalin used Penal Battalions (‘Shtrafbats’) made up of all but professional criminals to keep momentum during the 1942 Russian counteroffensive against Nazi Germany.

Until October 1942, Stalin used ‘blocking detachments’ to keep criminals marching forwards, shooting defectors.

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