Russias Wagner chief sends blood-stained sledgehammer to EU

Wagner chief leading 'jockeying and backstabbing' says Clapper

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The head of the bloodthirsty Wagner mercenary group (PMC) has issued a chilling threat to the EU in the form of a sledgehammer covered in fake blood. Yevgeny Prigozhin’s stunt comes after the European Parliament on Wednesday backed an initiative to designate the PMC as a terrorist organisation. The symbolically significant resolution passed in a 494-58 vote with 48 abstentions. In a threatening gesture, Prigozhin posted a video on Twitter showing the weapon with the Wagner symbol emblazoned on the top.

The video shows a violin case containing a sledgehammer with the inscription “PMC Wagner” on its head and fake blood stains on its handle.

The move is a nod to a video posted by the Wagner Group showing the killing of one of its defector with a sledgehammer.

Prigozhin’s Concord firm said the sledgehammer was given to a pro-war military blogging outfit that Russian media previously linked to Prigozhin’s so-called “troll farm.”

They said: “The information case to be sent to the European Parliament was handed over to a representative of Cyber Front Z.”

The person who was filmed delivering the case was identified as St. Petersburg-based Wagner lawyer Igor Yeliseyev.

It comes as after the vote, the European Parliament’s website was hit by a cyberattack by a pro-Moscow group.

President Roberta Metsola said in a Twitter statement that the Parliament “is under a sophisticated cyberattack” and that a “pro-Kremlin group has claimed responsibility.”

The legislature’s spokesman Jaume Duch said that the website “is currently impacted from outside due to high levels of external network traffic.” He added that “this traffic is related to a DDOS attack (Distributed Denial of Service) event.”

In a distributed denial of service attacks, the instigators render websites unreachable by bombarding them with junk data packets. DDoS attacks do not damage networks because they do not penetrate them. But they can be a major nuisance, especially when targeting sites the public depends on for vital information and services.

Ms Metsola said that the EU’s “IT experts are pushing back against it & protecting our systems”. 

She noted that it came “after we proclaimed Russia as a State-sponsor of terrorism”. 

In a lopsided 494-58 vote with 48 abstentions, the EU legislature sought to increase pressure on Moscow to bring anyone responsible for war crimes committed from the Feb. 24 start of the invasion before an international court.

The 27-nation EU has condemned in the harshest terms the invasion and repeatedly said that several Russian actions over the past 9 months have amounted to war crimes.

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Sometimes, state-backed hackers have used DDoS attacks as a smokescreen for more serious attacks, as occurred in Ukraine prior to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion. But mostly they are used as a “noisy” political tool by hacktivists whose affiliations may be murky.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the vote.

“Russia must be isolated at all levels and be held accountable in order to end its longstanding policy of terrorism in Ukraine and across the globe,” he wrote on Twitter.

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