One of Russia's most bloodthirsty criminals, known as the "Werewolf" and "Maniac of Angarsk", is in prison for murdering dozens of women aged between 18 and 50. However, that has not stopped him from asking his country's government to let him go fight in Ukraine, according to the Daily Mail.
58-year-old Mikhail Popkov hopes to take advantage of a program that allows convicted criminals to fight in Ukraine in exchange for a pardon after six months, as long as they are still alive.
Popkov, who has been sentenced to two life terms plus nine years in three separate trials, raped most of his victims before killing them using axes, knives, screwdrivers and other sharp objects.
Although he has been convicted of 78 murders, Russian police sources believe that the actual number of his victims may be as high as 200 women!
Despite the heinous nature of his crimes, Russian authorities allowed state television to interview him in prison, from where he appealed to be released to join Russian forces, claiming his experience of serving in the Red Army can prove very useful.
According to the Daily Mail, thousands of convicts have already used this method to gain their freedom.
In his interview on Russian state television, Popkov said his dream is to join the Russian army and go fight in Ukraine.
A Russian serial killer would like to go to the front. But not now, when it's cold, because the cold doesn't serve him 🤷
The interview with Mikhail Popkov was issued by Russian public TV. The 'Maniac of Angarsk' killed and raped over 80 women. He serves a double life sentence. pic.twitter.com/BPHKjDxycM
— Belsat in English (@Belsat_Eng) January 15, 2023
"I wouldn't hesitate to do it," said the serial killer, admitting, however, that the technological training he received during his time in the Red Army would be considered outdated today. Even though I've been in prison for a decade, I don't think I'd have any trouble learning new things," he said.
The killer explained in the interview that he knows that war has real dangers and that "this is not a video game, or a superhero fantasy book." He also admitted that he is afraid of the bitter cold at the front and expressed hope that he would survive it if he was eventually sent to Ukraine.
Popkov spread terror from 1992-2010 in his hometown of Arngarsk, which he said he wanted to "cleanse of prostitutes". Psychologists who examined Popkov after his arrest diagnosed him with "homicidal rage," but the criminal was ultimately found to be conscious of his actions and fit to stand trial.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's ambassador in Berlin, Oleksii Makeiev, urged the German government to provide his country with Leopard 2 battle tanks quickly.
"German weapons, German tanks are essential for survival," he told Germany's dpa news agency.
"We have very little time for discussions. And we expect our allies to understand that and act appropriately," he added.
Germany faces renewed pressure to give Ukraine some of its coveted Leopard 2 tanks after the United Kingdom announced Saturday it would send Challenger 2 tanks to bolster the country's war effort.
Makeiev's call also comes only days before a meeting of defense ministers from Ukraine's Western allies at the US Ramstein air base in western Germany to discuss further military support for the fight against Russia.
"We are not asking for German soldiers or Amercian soldiers, only weapons," Makeiev said.
Germany has become one of Ukraine's top military supporters, and earlier this month, agreed to join the US and France in sending armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine.
The German government has so far been hesitant to transfer Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, saying it would only do so if there is agreement among Kyiv's main allies, particularly the United States.
"German air defense systems help us to strike down the missiles, and the German tanks will help us to free more territory. And there will be fewer atrocities carried out there by the Russians," Makeiev said. "German weapons save lives."
Poland and Finland were prepared to supply German-made Leopard 2 tanks as part of a European alliance.
A German government spokesperson, however, said on Friday it had yet to receive an official request from the countries to export the tanks to Ukraine. They'll need Germany's permission or risk violating re-export rules.
"Germany should not stand in the way of other countries taking decisions to support Ukraine, independent of which decisions Germany takes," German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said on Thursday.
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