Alleged execution of Russian POWs captured on video
A gruesome clip emerged on social media on Tuesday, purportedly showing the execution of Russian prisoners of war by Ukrainian troops.
The video starts with the apparent murder of a severely wounded Russian serviceman, who was lying on a road. “Look, he’s still alive. He’s wheezing,” a voice said off screen before shots were fired at the defenseless soldier.
It then shows the bodies of several more Russians, scattered on the ground nearby in puddles of blood, as armed men with Ukrainian military insignia on their uniforms cheer as they walk among them.
At least one of the prisoners of war in the footage has his hands tied behind his back, and was apparently executed with a shot to the head at point-blank range. Some media outlets suggested that other soldiers may have had their throats slit.
The Ukrainian troops in the video are seen shouting “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Heroes!” – a slogan belonging to World War Two Nazi collaborators which has been adopted by the country’s military – and discussing what gear they could loot from the corpses.
The video is so graphic that RT is unable to share it.
The location and date on which the clip was recorded are currently unclear. But Russian media said it may have been filmed in the same area outside Kiev as a video published by the UNIAN news agency on March 30. This footage didn’t show the execution of POWs, but apparently featured at least one of the same Ukrainian fighters and the same seized Russian armored vehicle.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case, with experts being tasked with establishing the circumstances of the incident, its date and location, as well the identities of the Ukrainian troops who feature in it.
“The servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other Ukrainian armed units have committed a harsh violation of the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War,” the agency insisted.
This is not the first time during the conflict that a video has been posted online purportedly showing mistreatment of captured Russian troops by the Ukrainian military.
In late March, footage emerged of a brutal interrogation of POWs, during which they were shot in the legs at point-blank range. Some troops apparently didn’t survive the questioning. According to the Investigative Committee, the incident may have taken place at a military compound used by “nationalist” units in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkov.
Russia launched a large-scale offensive against Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two rebel regions by force.