Investigation Team Bellingcat and edition The Insider claim to have identified the Russian soldier who, in the video, tortured, maimed and killed a captured Ukrainian soldier. The tormentor turned out to be a 29-year-old native of Tuva from the Akhmat battalion, according to investigations published on Friday, August 5.

In late July, pro-Russian Telegram channels circulated videos showing men in military uniforms with Russian army symbols torturing a tied Ukrainian prisoner of warcut off his genitals and then kill him. Directly torture and murder was committed by a man in a wide-brimmed hat.

Hat and bracelet

Due to the poor quality of the videos, investigators at Bellingcat and The Insider were unable to analyze the images in the originally released videos. They managed to establish their identity thanks to their distinctive features – a hat and a bracelet on their arm. A man wearing such a hat and with such a bracelet was found by journalists in several other better-quality videos published by Russian media, including footage filmed by RT and RIA Novosti from the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk.

From these videos it followed that the soldier in the hat, most likely, serves in the Chechen battalion “Akhmat”, the authors of the investigation point out. With the help of online facial recognition services, journalists found his pages on social networks. According to the authors of the investigation, the person in the torture video is Ochur-Suge Mongush, a native of Tuva.

Investigators managed to talk to the military

On one of the pages in social networks, journalists found Mongush’s phone number and called him. In a conversation with the authors of the investigation, he confirmed that the man in the hat in the video from the Azot plant was him, but stated that he was not involved in torture and murder. According to Mongush, the video of his participation in the torture was fabricated.

After the footage appeared on social networks, his journalist friends called him and advised him to come to the FSB, where he “was held for two days, they made sure that the video was fabricated,” Mongush claims. The FSB allegedly told him that “the video was posted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and fell into the hands of the Ukrainians when they found the criminal who raped a 10-year-old child.”

Joint photo with the fighters of the battalion “Akhmat”

At the same time, Mongush told reporters that he had nothing to do with the Akhmat battalion and “never held a weapon in his hands.” Nevertheless, the authors of the investigation found him in a photo with the fighters of this battalion, including those from the territory of Chechnya, and on his page on the VKontakte social network they found photos of Mongush with weapons in his hands.

“Mongush’s confessions are very important: before talking with him, it was established for sure that the person in the video of the “Akhmatovites” from the Azot plant is the same one who appears in the video with torture, and also that a person very similar to this torturer surname Mongush fought in Akhmat, but there was a hypothetical possibility that two very similar people of Mongoloid appearance were fighting in Akhmat, however, Mongush’s admission that the man in the hat on the video from the Azot plant is him, excludes everything last doubts,” writes The Insider.

Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine after the publication of the video filed criminal case under the article on violation of the laws and customs of war. The Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets urged to check the video for a possible war crime, a violation of the Geneva Convention. Lubinets also said that reports are being prepared to the UN, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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