Russian Mercenary Dubbed 'The Executioner' Killed By Ukrainian Sniper
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Russian state media has confirmed that a mercenary known as 'The Executioner' has been shot and killed by a Ukrainian sniper during a reconnaissance mission.
44-year-old Vladimir Andonov had become notorious during Russia's 2014 invasion of Ukraine for his part in carrying out massacres against prisoners of war and civilians.
Previously a regular member of the Russian military between 1997 and 2005, he volunteered to join Vladimir Putin's first invasion and was drafted into a special forces company which participated in fighting in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
Once again deployed to Ukrainian soil as part of Vladimir Putin's current invasion of Ukraine, Andonov was killed as part of a counter-attack near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Sunday, Russian publication Moskovsky Komsomolets reports.
Ukraine had accused him of personally participating in the massacre of prisoners of war and the slaughter of civilians.
According to the Daily Mail, 'The Executioner' stayed on the frontlines of the conflict after the Minsk Agreements of 2015 signaled the end of full scale war between Russia and Ukraine.
He then returned to his home region of Buryatia, situated in the far east of Siberia, in 2017 before appearing to vanish following deleting all trace of himself online.
The Mail says Andonov is thought to have joined the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary unit which was deployed to conflicts in Syria and Libya.
The Wagner Group has been sanctioned by the US and the European Union as it faces accusations of its mercenaries committing war crimes and 'serious human rights abuses'.
Since the Russian invasion - which began on 24 February - stalled out with Putin's forces unable to take the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, there has been a strategic revision to focus more on the Donbas region.
Andonov is the latest in a long line of high-profile figures in the Russian military to be killed in the invasion of Ukraine.
A substantial number of senior Russian officers have been killed during the invasion and in recent days, another has joined the myriad others.
The BBC reports that Moscow has lost another top officer with the death of Major General Roman Kutuzov, reportedly killed while leading an assault on a Ukrainian settlement in the Donbas region.
Russian commanders have been ordered to the frontlines in an attempt to push Putin's invasion further into Ukraine.
According to the New York Times, the US is providing intelligence to the Ukrainian military which is helping troops target Russian officers.
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