A Russian officer who brandished the skull of a Ukrainian soldier at a heavy metal concert was shot in an 'execution-style' hit: report

A view of a damaged building in the Luhansk region
A view of a damaged building in the Luhansk region.STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images
  • A Russian captain was shot "execution-style" in the head on Saturday, according to reports.

  • Igor Mangushev was filmed last year brandishing the supposed skull of a slain Ukrainian soldier.

  • An expert said the "hit" on Mangushev may have been a proxy attack on the head of the Wagner Group.

A captain in the Russian army, who previously worked as a propagandist, was shot in the head at close range in Ukraine over the weekend, according to reports.

British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Igor Mangushev was taken to a hospital in the town of Stakhanov early Saturday with a "close range" gunshot wound to the head.

According to The New Voice of Ukraine, citing unverified doctors' reports, Mangushev was shot "execution-stye" at a checkpoint in the Russian-occupied region of Luhansk Oblast.

He survived but is now being treated for the gunshot wound by a neurosurgery department at a hospital in Kaddivka, in eastern Ukraine, the outlet said.

The Institute for the Study of War, an American think tank, said on Saturday that Mangushev had ties to the private military contractor the Wagner Group.

It also noted that Mangushev gained notoriety for a stunt involving the skull of what he said was a Ukrainian soldier who had died at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

Last summer, Mangushev was filmed brandishing the skull during a heavy metal concert. Per The New Voice of Ukraine, during the recording he called for the destruction of all those who supported the existence of Ukraine.


According to MailOnline, Mangushev has repeatedly called for the murder of Ukrainian civilians in Telegram posts.

The Daily Beast reported that Mangushev also had links to neo-Nazi groups.

Images released on Telegram appear to show a bandaged Mangushev covered in blood, lying on a hospital bed.

The Telegraph reported that the photos were shared by Mangushev's friend Boris Rozhkin, who has been sanctioned by Ukraine for pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda.

"I think we can safely describe this as a hit," Mark Galeotti, a London-based expert on Russian security and director of Mayak Intelligence, said in a series of tweets about the incident.

In the posts, Galeotti theorized that the shooting could be a "proxy attack" on Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Wagner Group.

"This could be a warning, or taking a pawn off the board, or a sign that Prigozhin's more thuggish rivals feel he is weakened enough that they can move," he added.

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