Video Shows Russian Fighter With Ukrainian Skull, Says He'll Make a Goblet

A disturbing video making the rounds on social media purports to show a Russian soldier holding the skull of a dead Ukrainian and advocating for further, drastic violence in the country.

The video began to be shared on Twitter early Sunday morning. Serhii Sternenko, whose profile bio describes him as an Ukrainian activist, shared the video in a tweet and as of late Sunday morning, it had garnered over 205,000 views and over 9,200 retweets.

In the video, the soldier, a 36-year-old Russian veteran, appears to be standing on a nightclub stage and addressing a crowd. He says that the skull came from a Ukrainian regiment soldier killed while fighting Russian forces in Ukraine. A tweet from a user named Den Kazansky also described him as a mercenary.

Warning: Video contains imagery that may be upsetting to readers.

"This is Igor Mangushev," Sternenko wrote at the start of a four-tweet thread. "A Russian soldier who went to war to commit genocide. In the video, he himself admits this. He says that the main goal of the war is to kill everyone who considers himself Ukrainian. Mangushev holds a human skull in his hands."

He added: "According to him, this is the skull of a Ukrainian soldier from Azovstal. Do you still want to trade with russia? Do you still think that Ukraine needs weapons? Russia is an absolute anti-human entity that must be destroyed."

russian soldier ukraine skull
Above, a shot of a Russian soldier near a Luhansk power plant. A man reported to be a Russian soldier gave a speech calling for greater violence in Ukraine while holding a skull he claimed was from a dead Ukrainian fighter. Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

During the speech, Mangushev calls for Ukraine to be "de-Ukrainized," and for the "lands of Novorossiya" to "be returned back." Novorossiya is the name of a proposed confederation of breakaway regions in Eastern Ukraine, which was first put forward in 2014. It includes the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which have been major focuses of Russia's invasion.

"We are not at war with people of blood and flesh," Mangushev says in the video. "We are at war with an idea—Ukraine as an anti-Russian state. We're alive and this guy [the skull] is already dead. Let him burn in hell. He wasn't lucky. We'll make a goblet out of his skull."

In addition to his role as a mercenary for Russia, Mangushev is also purportedly the leader and founder of the nationalist private military group, ENOT. On a Telegram page that he operates, he has also called for greater violence against the Ukrainian people and their identities.

"We will burn your houses, kill your families, take away your children and raise them Russians," he wrote in a post.

Newsweek reached out to Russian officials for comment.