Russia’s most heinous serial killer volunteers to join Putin’s war in Ukraine

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Mikhail Popkov, Russia's most prolific serial killer, is volunteering to fight for Putin in Ukraine in exchange for the possibility of a pardon. Popkov, who is currently serving two life sentences for the murder of 83 women, has been dubbed “The Werewolf” and the “Angarsk Maniac” by the press. However, police believe that his true number of victims is closer to 200.

Popkov raped most of his victims before killing them with various weapons such as axes, hammers, knives, screwdrivers, and spades. The majority of his victims were women aged between 18 and 50.

He carried out his string of heinous crimes between 1992 and 2010, in his home city of Angarsk, with the intention of “cleansing the city of prostitutes.”

The prison recruitment scheme, which Popkov is seeking to join, sees criminals sent out to fight with pro-Russian forces in Putin's illegal war in exchange for a pardon if they continue to fight and stay alive for six months.

The Russian authorities permit state TV to interview Popkov, as he pleaded to join Putin's fighters, claiming he has radio-electronics experience from his time as a Red Army conscript. He hopes to use the scheme, which has freed as many as 40,000 convicts, to gain his liberty.

Popkov is even confessing to more murders as he seeks to win a place in the Wagner private army, headed by Putin crony Yevgeny Prigozhin, which is backing the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine. When asked by Russian state TV, “what is your dream?”, he replied: “To join the army.”

Popkov is a chilling reminder of the atrocities that can be committed by one individual. Despite being diagnosed with homicidal mania, “a condition when a person has an irrational desire to kill someone,” by a psychiatric evaluation, Popkov was declared sane and fit to serve.

Popkov's request to join Putin's fighters in Ukraine brings up moral and ethical questions about the use of convicted criminals as soldiers, and the impact it could have on the already dire human rights situation in the region.

The request by the serial killer also highlights the disturbing reality that even the most heinous criminals can be given a chance at redemption, if they are willing to fight for the state.