Some convicts recruited by Russia’s private military contractor Wagner to fight in the war in Ukraine are coming home and committing new crimes
TALLINN, Estonia — When Ivan Rossomakhin returned home from the war in Ukraine three months ago, his neighbors in the village east of Moscow were terrified.
Three years ago, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to a long prison term but was freed after volunteering to fight with the Wagner private military contractor.
Back in Novy Burets, Rossomakhin drunkenly wandered the streets of the hamlet 800 kilometers (about 500 miles) east of Moscow, carrying a pitchfork and threatening to kill everyone, residents said.
Despite police promises to keep an eye on the 28-year-old former inmate, he was arrested in a nearby town on charges of stabbing to death an elderly woman from whom he once rented a room. He reportedly confessed to committing the crime, less than 10 days after his return.
Rossomakhin’s case is not isolated. The Associated Press found at least seven other instances in recent months in which Wagner-recruited convicts were identified as being involved in violent crimes, either by Russian media reports or in interviews with relatives of victims in locations from Kaliningrad in the west to Siberia in the east.