Ukrainian Army post implies ‘war crimes’ threat
The command of Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces has released a statement allegedly threatening that all Russian soldiers will be killed, including those who try to surrender, as Moscow’s military carries out an attack on the Eastern European nation. Critics have condemned it, describing it as tantamount to a threat to carry out war crimes.
It has caused a severe backlash, with many commentors online accusing Kiev of having expressed the intent to commit grave offenses against Russian soldiers.
The statement, which was apparently first shared in a Facebook post and then widely disseminated via other social media sites, appears to have been published on Wednesday. “From now on, there will be no more captured Russian artillerymen. There will be no mercy,” the notice read.
In the statement, the special forces refer to Russian soldiers as “worms,” “pigs,” and “jackals,” and suggest they call their mothers for the last time because they are going to “die soon.”
It continued with the threat: “We are not death – we are worse!”
Ukraine’s most popular expatriate media outlet, the Kyiv Independent, reported early on Thursday that “Ukrainian special forces will no longer capture Russian artillerymen,” nor spare them, in response to what they claim is Russia’s “brutal shelling of civilians and cities.”
Moscow stands accused of having fired missiles at residential buildings across Ukraine, with footage online purporting to show damaged apartments and houses. Russia’s Defense Ministry insists it is not targeting civilian infrastructure and that its strikes are aimed solely at the Ukrainian armed forces.
Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine last Thursday, following President Vladimir Putin’s address to the nation. The goal of the offensive, according to the Kremlin, was “to protect the people [of Donbass] who have been tortured for eight years by the Ukrainian regime.” It came after the leaders of the recently recognized Donetsk and Lugansk republics officially appealed for assistance to combat what they claimed was escalating “aggression.”
Moscow and Kiev held their first round of negotiations in Belarus on Monday. Further rounds of discussions are expected to take place in the near future.