Some supporters of Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine have been branded with a ret hot poker to create the ‘Z’ symbol on their bodies.
Nexta, a Belarusian media outlet, shared a video on their official Twitter account showing the branding of one man in a dingy tool shed somewhere in Russia.
The Z symbol has been sweeping social media after first appearing as an identifier on Russian tanks.
It has become a mainstream propaganda symbol for the Kremlin, leading some commentators to describe it as “the new Swastika”.
But that hasn’t stopped people, mainly in Russia, flashing the symbol with pride.
In the video shared by Nexta, a man who looks to be in his late thirties, lays back in a shed full of scrap metal as another man pushes the Z-shaped red hot iron prong into his chest.
It makes a burning noise, and the man jumps up and begins shouting in Russian.
The Z symbol first appeared in late February as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine to begin Putin’s “special operation”.
Just this week, men in Russian camouflage, which featured a “Z” patch, were seen in gruesome footage pinning down a man who appears to be a captured Ukrainian soldier, before castrating him.
One of them use a box-cutting knife and appears to remove the victim’s genitals in front of the camera.
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The footage was shared on social media and Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun tweeted her response: ” Russia has to pay for it.
“Give Ukraine the weapons we need to stop this nightmare once and for all. The world can’t pretend like this isn’t happening.”
Supermodel Irina Shayk was even recently accused of “backing Putin’s war” by “using his ‘Z’ symbol” in a seemingly innocuous Instagram post.
In mid July the 36-year-old fashion icon captioned a picture of a traditional Olivier salad with the phrase “Russianzz on Wednesday”, with many believing the double Z was a reference to the symbol adopted by Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.