Russia probes claim Ukrainians harvested POWs’ organs
Russia is investigating a video in which a person claiming to be a Ukrainian military surgeon implies that he was involved in the extraction of organs from Russian prisoners of war (POWs). The alleged surgeon also stated he participated in the sale of those organs on the black market.
The head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, has ordered a probe into the video footage that went viral on Russian social media this week, the agency said in a statement on Thursday.
The roughly minute-long clip appears to show a heated TeleLink exchange between “Vladimir Vasilievich,” a man claiming to be a Ukrainian field medic, and somebody he branded as a “Rashist … blogger,” using a pejorative word for “Russian.”
The recording was partially redacted but ‘Vladimir’s interlocutor appears to taunt him before the self-described field surgeon makes his claims, presumably asking his subject about whether he’d amputated the legs of Ukrainian soldiers.
“I mostly cut off the legs of your pigs, also their arms and eyes. Do you know how much grannies in Germany pay for [eyes]?” he responded.
“I cut out eyes, and kidneys, and liver from you 27-year-old [redacted],” the man is heard ranting in a mocking tone.
‘Vladimir’ also claimed that he denied anesthesia to injured Russians in his care, ignoring instructions from his superiors. “I cut out their eyes … and enjoy it,” he declared.
His identity remains uncertain. Some sources claim he is a Ukrainian national from the Ivano-Frankivsk Region, listed as having served in the National Guard between 2014 and 2015. Whether he committed the crimes he is claiming credit for is an open question.
In March 2022, there was a similar incident involving Gennady Druzenko, a constitutional lawyer-turned-volunteer frontline medic in Ukraine. During an interview with national television, he said that he’d ordered the castration of all Russian POWs that his medical unit treats “because they are cockroaches and not people.”
Druzenko later disavowed his scandalous statement, offering an assurance that it was not true and that he was acting out because of his emotional state.
Kiev has pledged that it has observed its international obligations to respect the rules of war. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that mistreatment and even summary executions of POWs was a pervasive practice among Ukrainian forces.