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Islamic State Video Purports to Show What Happens to Russian Spies Who Infiltrate Its Ranks

Two alleged FSB agent "confess" to their deeds on camera before being taken out into a field and shot by a young "cub" of the caliphate.
January 13, 2015, 5:45pm
Image via Vidme

The Islamic State (IS) has released a new video purporting to show the "confessions" of two alleged Russian agents and the deadly consequences for foreign spies who infiltrate its ranks.

The questionable footage was released by the militants' media arm Alhayat Media Center, and is already being called fake by online viewers. The production style of the seven and a half-minute video titled "Uncovering an Enemy Within" has all the makings of a mediocre television series.

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Both men are interrogated against a blank, white wall, with an eerie violet light cast on their faces. Long, dramatic fades between scenes and an ominous drum beat soundtrack punctuate scenes of the impending executions.

Hostage John Cantlie takes on Mosul in eighth Islamic State propaganda video. Read more here.

The video opens with a written message claiming that after the militant group began its bloodied insurgency across parts of Iraq and Syria last year, "Its enemies thought that they could dispatch spies and agents to plot against the Islamic State."

"The following presentation is a portion of the confessions of two agents recruited by Russian Intelligence," the opening title reads.

The footage then cuts to the first alleged Russian Security Service (FSB) agent, Mamayev Jambulat Yesenjanovich, 39, from Kazakhstan, who claims he was "blackmailed" by the Russian agency to spy for them. He then outlines his missions, one of which was "to gather information about Russian-speaking brothers."

Yesenjanovich also allegedly "confesses" to a second mission, aimed at gathering intelligence from the laptop of an unnamed militant, whom the second alleged Russian FSB officer, Ashimov Sergey Nikolayavich, 31, was tasked with killing.

"I was a Muslim before this," Nikolayavich adds. "Then I handed brothers over and thereby became an apostate. And I direct my message to those who want to come here and spy, I say to them repent to Allah now before it's too late."

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Watch the VICE News documentary The Islamic State here.

The next scene cuts to a gun-wielding militant and a young boy standing over the Russian "spies," who are both on their knees with hands tied in a field. The young "cub of the Khilafah," or caliphate, then purportedly shoots the men in the head. The dubbed-in gunshots are evident by the ringing sounds that the bullet shells make as they purport to drop to the dirt-covered ground.

The militant, sporting pristine Russian Gorka battle dress, as worn by Russian special forces, speaks a message in Russian: "We say to those tempted by their inner selves to spy on the secrets of the Muslims and mujahidin that we will not have any leniency or mercy towards them."

Russian media has reported that the FSB has declined so far to comment on the video.

Whether fake or real, this latest video show the increasing lengths IS will take in producing such propaganda films.

Earlier this month, the militants released a bizarre video of British hostage John Cantlie acting as a smiling tour guide through the "heartland" of the insurgent stronghold of Mosul, Iraq.

Relations between the Islamist militants and Russia have long been tense, with Moscow a close ally of IS's foe, the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which it arms and backs in matters of diplomacy. In a September video, the militants declared war on Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian agents have previously been captured in the Middle East, notably in 2004 when two agents accused of assassinating the former Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev were arrested in Qatar. In response to that incident, Russia took the Qatari wrestling team hostage as they were passing through Sheremetyvo airport in Moscow and the agents were eventually released back to Russia.

The Islamic State treats hostages 'well,' according to new propaganda video. Read more here.

VICE News' Simon Ostrovsky and Aris Roussinos contributed to this report.