The UN’s human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine has called on Kiev to probe a video that apparently shows the country’s troops executing Russian prisoners of war. Moscow has said that killing captives is a “widespread practice” by Ukraine’s armed forces.
The UN body told the Associated Press on Saturday that it “is aware of the video and is looking into it,” adding: “we reiterate our call that all such allegations should be properly and promptly investigated by respective authorities.”
The video itself surfaced on social media earlier this week. In it, a group of captured Russian servicemen are shown surrendering to Ukrainian troops and lying down on the ground, before a second clip shows their bodies lying motionless in pools of blood.
Another clip with no sound purportedly shows a Russian soldier emerging from a building and opening fire on the Ukrainians, but it is unclear whether that clip is linked to the alleged execution.
The Russian Ministry of Defense described the video as evidence of “the deliberate and methodical murder” of the soldiers, with the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council calling the incident a “demonstrative and audacious crime.” The council demanded an international investigation, and said that it had notified the UN, Council of Europe, Amnesty International, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Of course, Ukrainian authorities will investigate this video,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishina told reporters at a security conference in Canada on Saturday. However, she rushed to claim that it is “very unlikely” that the clips show a deliberate execution.
Russia’s Defense Ministry, however, said that not only does the footage depict the “barbarous killing of Russian prisoners of war,” it shows “a widespread practice of the Ukrainian Armed Forces that is actively supported by the Kiev regime and outright ignored by its Western backers.”
Back in March, another shocking video emerged showing Ukrainian troops shooting captured Russian soldiers in the legs at point-blank range, while other wounded Russians lie on the ground nearby.
Countless other videos of Russian troops being mistreated by their Ukrainian captors have also surfaced online in the months since Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine began in late February.