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Novoshakhtinsk shooter claims having mistaken Russian police for Ukrainian troops

Source: Meduza

Pavel Nikolin, the Wagner Group deserter who opened fire on local police officers in Novoshakhtinsk, a mining city in the Rostov region, has appeared before the court in Rostov-on-Don.

Nikolin was recruited by the Wagner Group while serving a sentence for robbery at the IK-4 penal colony in Ufa. He joined the Wagner Group, went to Ukraine, and then deserted from the ranks.

The shooter told the journalists in the courtroom that he didn’t realize he was in Russia when firing his Kalashnikov at the local policemen. Nikolin claimed having lost touch with his Wagner unit, wandered off, and crossed the Russian border without noticing.

When explaining why he opened fire on the policemen in Novoshakhtinsk, Nikolin said that he had mistaken them for Ukrainian troops, “because they were in plainclothes and showed no documents, but started following me.”

The shooter pointed out that he surrendered to the Spetsnaz troops as soon as he saw their badges.

Pavel Nikolin in the courtroom

When asked whether he had served in the Wagner Group, he confirmed it, but refused to answer further questions about the “private military company.”

On December 6, Nikolin had opened fire on the police at a customs checkpoint on the outskirts of Novoshakhtinsk. He wounded one of the officers and fled from the scene.

Following the incident, the city had closed its daycare centers and shut down the roads leading out of the city. Residents had been advised to stay indoors.

On December 7, Nikolin was arrested in the village of Kiselevo outside of Novoshakhtinsk.

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