Steaming, rotting corpses of murdered Wagner group thugs have led to the discovery of a mass grave in Siberia.
Chilling footage has emerged of the dense forest clearing in Irtkusk, apparently showing earth dug up for Vladimir Putin’s mercenaries.
The faraway Siberian city, some 3,250 miles from Moscow, is a hub for Russian aviation but is now reportedly home to more than 60 burial sites.
The grim discovery was made by two local journalists who filmed the burial site ad hoc while the Wagner group in Ukraine suffered heavy casualties.
The shocking video showed a mix of ceremonial graves and open ditches that seemed to be billowing with steam and smoke from the decomposing human remains.
Most burial places were marked with a wooden cross, covered with branches and decorated with two wreaths.
One garland was modeled on the Russian tricolor, the other consisted of red and yellow flowers from the Wagner emblem.
It has been reported that 53 Wagner graves have been identified at the site.
However, this only took up a small portion of the landmass – suggesting many more bodies are to be expected.
According to the Russian news agency Pravda, 13 graves of “war heroes” were also found at the site.
It is believed that all fighters buried in the Alexandrovskoe Cemetery died in the period from December 2022 to March 2023.
Using local databases, the journalists also found that more than 43 of the soldiers who died were convicts between the ages of 20 and 62.
Of these, 17 members were reportedly convicted of murder and the remainder were convicted of robbery and drug-related offences.
The discovery has shed light on the mounting death toll from Russian forces in Ukraine as the conflict enters its 17th month.
In February, US officials claimed that more than 30,000 Wagner fighters had been injured or killed since the war began on February 24, 2022.
Most fatalities occurred in the meat grinder in Bakhmut.
Nevertheless, seven mass graves for the deceased blood-stained thugs were discovered throughout the Russian Empire.
In January, a macabre cemetery was found in Bakinskaya, Krasnodar.
There were no fewer than 120 graves on display, filled with victims from across Russia, some named, some not.
The majority of the fighters killed are believed to be dangerous prisoners recruited to fight in exchange for their freedom.
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin also reportedly announced a cash payment to family members if their relatives were killed in fighting in Ukraine.
Advocacy groups claimed that prisoners who turned themselves in were told their families would receive a payout of 5 million rubles (£43.00) if they were killed.
However, an inside source told RadioFreeEurope that most family members were not even informed of the deaths.
The man said: “Of course it is easier for Wagner to bury all the abductees in one place than to take care of the complex logistics and transport of the bodies in the area.” [Russia] and even to neighboring countries.
“But it also shows her true attitude towards the dead and their families.”
The remaining Wagner troops sought refuge in Belarus after their failed coup in June.
They shamelessly followed their mutinous mad boss who was forced to flee after Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko struck a deal with angry Kremlin officials.
The failed uprising was the biggest challenge to authority for Putin since he came to power after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
At the time of the coup, Prigozhin vowed to “punish” Russia after blaming the Kremlin for a deadly rocket attack on one of its training camps.
Putin’s former pal then led an armed uprising with the stated aim of overthrowing Russia’s military leaders while targeting Moscow’s top politicians.
Hours after a 400-vehicle convoy rolled onto Russian soil from Ukraine, Wagner troops seized control of Russia’s regional military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don.
They drove heavy military machines, tanks and trucks.
Prigozhin boasted that his men – who were believed to be better equipped than the Russian army – did not have to fire a single shot when they took control of the headquarters.
He said: “The border guards greeted us and hugged our fighters. If anyone gets in our way, we will destroy everything. We do it all the way.”
Kremlin bosses dispatched pickup trucks laden with sand to block the gates to Moscow, home to 12 million people.
And then, in a bizarre about-face, Prigozhin urged his private army to back down.
In an audio message to his troops, he ordered them to return to their bases to “avoid bloodshed.”
Ever since his troops were transferred to Belarus, the official whereabouts of the Wagner leader have been questioned.
Some experts assume he’s either dead or rotting in a Russian gulag.
Since then, Putin has capitalized on his servile adversary and is tasked with dismantling the Wagner group.