Ukrainian soldiers confess to cold-blooded murder of 2 women ‘suspected of separatism’

Two Ukrainian servicemen have confessed to the murder of a mother and daughter in the Kiev-controlled portion of eastern Ukraine, the local prosecutor’s office reported on Wednesday. The soldiers shot the women in the head with a machine gun.

READ MORE: US ignores OSCE data, blames ‘majority’ of Ukraine truce violations on rebels

The two residents of the Luganskoe village in the Donetsk region, a 77-year old woman and her 45-year old daughter, were killed on Monday, the statement from the press service of the prosecutor’s office in Donetsk region said. The women died of bullet wounds to the head.

An investigation was launched by the local prosecutor’s office, which is under the jurisdiction of the Kiev authorities, and two Ukrainian Armed Forces servicemen were detained. The soldiers, both in their twenties, have confessed to the murder.

“It has been established that on June 15 the soldiers entered the house of the victims, whom they suspected of separatist sympathies, and killed them with machinegun fire,” the official statement said.

READ MORE: Renewed shelling hits residential areas in eastern Ukraine (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

The two men have been charged with premeditated murder. If found guilty, they face a jail sentence between seven years and life in prison.

READ MORE: AFP contributor injured in shelling in Donetsk, Ukraine

The rare public case by pro-Kiev authorities against their own troops comes in the wake of international rights groups’ condemnation of both sides’ alleged use of torture and other intimidation tactics in the 14-month war, AFP reported. Since April 2014, the conflict between Kiev and rebels in Ukraine’s south-east has claimed the lives of nearly 6,500 people, according to latest UN estimates.

READ MORE: Ukraine humanitarian crisis ‘one of the world’s worst’ – UN refugee agency

A ceasefire agreement was signed by a contact group in Minsk in February, but fighting has sporadically continued in the region. On Wednesday, the defense ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said Ukrainian forces had violated the ceasefire seven times in that day alone, TASS reported. Both small arms and rocket launchers were used in the alleged attacks by Kiev forces.

On Wednesday, the Lugansk militia claimed that more than 500 civilians had been killed in Donbass since the ceasefire was agreed upon in February. According to the rebels’ statement, cited by RIA Novosti, Ukrainian forces have violated the ceasefire 9,000 times since mid-February, with some 1,200 reported shellings of residential areas.