Russia alerts international rights groups to ‘mass grave’ video
Russia has alerted several international human rights organizations about a disturbing video purportedly showing dead civilians thrown into a mass grave in Ukraine, the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights said on Monday.
The video was shared by a Ukrainian neo-Nazi militant, who, however, blamed Russian troops for the apparent massacre.
The head of the Russian human rights council, Valery Fedorov, informed the UN Human Rights Council (OHCHR), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and Amnesty International, among other groups, about the grisly footage.
“This video speaks of extrajudicial killings, the physical elimination of people who show a civil position and dare to oppose official Kiev. The situation is also aggravated by the fact that official representatives of the Ukrainian authorities have previously openly announced carrying out ‘tough sweeping’ and ‘filtration measures’,” Fedorov said in a statement urging an international probe into the affair.
Earlier in the day, Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had launched a probe into the alleged massacre, which is believed to have happened near the town of Kupyansk in eastern Ukraine. The town was recently re-captured by Ukrainian troops after being held by Russian forces.
The video was released online on Sunday by Maksim Zhorin, formerly a senior commander with the neo-Nazi Azov regiment, which is banned in Russia. Footage shows several presumably dead bodies in civilian clothing half-buried in a pit, with another body of an almost-naked man rolling into the hole.
Zhorin initially said that the video showed the “civilian population” and warned that “there will be retaliation.” Shortly thereafter, however, he altered his post, claiming the video had been obtained from a phone seized from an “occupant,” implying the murders had been committed by the Russian military.