The MH17 killer is now afraid of being killed himself.
Igor Girkin, a pro-war Russian nationalist jailed for challenging President Vladimir Putin, is worried he will meet the same fate as Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, who died in a plane crash earlier this year after rebelling against the Russian leader.
“My arrest happened a month after Prigozhin’s rebellion,” Girkin told Russian media Baza in an interview released Thursday.
“My greatest fear is that instead of the usual criminal punishment, I will be ‘amnestied’ in the same way as the Cook,” Girkin added, in a reference to Prigozhin, who was nicknamed “Putin’s chef” after his proximity to the Russian leader allowed him to secure lucrative government catering contracts.
Girkin, a 52-year-old former colonel from the Russian spy service who goes by the nom de guerre Strelkov (“Shooter”), is notorious for leading Russian paramilitary troops into Ukraine’s Donbas region in 2014, and briefly becoming defense minister in the Donetsk People’s Republic, a Russian puppet state.
In 2022, he was convicted of murder in absentia for the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet (MH17) over Ukraine in 2014, which killed 298 people.
After Donbas, Girkin reinvented himself as an ultra-nationalist military commentator who repeatedly criticized Russia’s tactics and strategy in its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
His withering critiques eventually landed him in a Russian jail in July this year — shortly after Prigozhin’s aborted mutiny against the Kremlin — where he is still awaiting trial on charges of inciting extremism.
Girkin later announced he would defy Putin in the 2024 Russian presidential elections — but on Thursday, a Moscow court extended his pretrial detention by six months, effectively preventing him from running.
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