A Russian pro-war nationalist mercenary has died from a gunshot wound to the head in eastern Ukraine in what his family called an assassination, state media reported Wednesday.
Igor Mangushev, 36, was hospitalized over the weekend after an apparent “execution-style” shooting at close range at a checkpoint in the Russian-occupied Luhansk region.
Citing his friend Akim Apachev, the Russian state-run RIA Novosti news agency said Wednesday that Mangushev has succumbed to his gunshot wounds.
Mangushev’s colleagues among Russian pro-war correspondents and military bloggers said he died at 6 a.m. Moscow time.
His wife claims Mangushev was the victim of an execution, while friends and colleagues criticized the lack of a proper investigation into his shooting.
Mangushev was described as a political strategist who had done disinformation work for Wagner mercenary group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin’s media arm and co-founder of the Russian nationalist mercenary outfit Enot.
During the war in Ukraine, media outlets have referred to Mangushev as the commander of a pro-Russian Luhansk region unit and commander of the Russian army’s “anti-drone” platoon.
He gained notoriety for a standup routine last summer in which he brandished what he claimed was the skull of a Ukrainian soldier.
The British defense ministry said in December that Wagner "likely" threatens its fighters with summary execution for deserting or deviating from their assault routes.