The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine has opened an investigation “for violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with intentional murder” after the appearance of a video in which Russian soldiers allegedly appear killing two Ukrainian fighters who had surrendered. The images were published on Saturday by the Ukrainian Telegram channel DeepStateUA. They show “a group of people in Russian uniforms” shooting at point-blank range at unarmed Ukrainians, according to prosecutors.
In the video you can see a Ukrainian soldier coming out of a trench to surrender. He puts his hands to his head as an apparent group of Russian soldiers point their guns at him. The Ukrainian fighter is then seen lying face down on the ground, and a second Ukrainian soldier emerges from the trench. None of them appear to be armed. A few seconds later, the soldiers open fire on the Ukrainians.
The Ukrainian military Oleksandr Kolym He declared that same day that the Ukrainians shot belonged to his unit. This Sunday, the head of the Avdivka military administration, Vitali Barabashdeclared to the Ukrainian channel Freedom TV that the shooters had subsequently been “liquidated” in a Ukrainian attack. But none have provided evidence to support their claims.
The video has not been independently verified, and Russia has not responded to the allegations. Preliminary data suggest that the shooting occurred near the town of Stepove, in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, which did not provide details on the date of publication of the video or its authorship.
The area has been the scene of intense fighting in recent weeks, with Russian troops attempting to seize the nearby town of Avdivka, a Ukrainian stronghold located on the outskirts of Donetsk, the regional capital in Russian hands.
Prosecutors say the killing of prisoners of war is a “serious violation” of the laws and customs of the conflict. Since the start of the Russian invasion, both Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of violating the Geneva Conventions, a set of international humanitarian laws that regulate the conduct of armed conflicts and, specifically, the treatment of prisoners of war.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office denounces a “serious international crime”, while the Army has once again urged the international community to “condemn Russia’s actions and bring the military leadership of the aggressor country to justice.” A step that has already been taken Volodymyr Zelensky last April after the publication of another video in which a Ukrainian soldier appeared beheaded by a Russian soldier.