Kyiv talks of self-defense, UN launches investigation
Were captured Russian soldiers executed on the spot?
Cold-blooded execution of defenseless prisoners – or self-defense? Moscow blames Kyiv for the execution of captured soldiers. Kyiv counters that the Russians were faking surrender and planning an ambush. Research confirms this version.
In mid-November, the Luhansk region was captured from Ukraine: one by one, Russian soldiers surrendered and laid them on the ground in the backyard.
For several days now, Russian media have been playing up reports that Ukrainian soldiers allegedly shot Russian prisoners of war at close range. Two 30-second videos of Russian prisoners of war lying on the ground are circulating on the Internet. One by one they emerged from the hut with their hands raised and surrendered. He is lying face down on the ground in the backyard. Suddenly, a figure – a Russian – rushes out of the hut and opens fire. The video stops suddenly. The second video shows the bodies of Russian soldiers in pools of blood.
Kyiv denied reports of the alleged execution of Ukrainian soldiers. Rather, their own soldiers were defending themselves against the Russians, Dmitro Lubinez, the human rights representative of the Ukrainian parliament, said in Telegram on Sunday. According to Lubinez, the Russians were only faking their capitulation. He does not deny killing the prisoners, but suggests self-defense.
This version of events seems to be confirmed by specialists from the “New York Times”, who verified the videos with extensive research. They also base their detailed analysis on videos from Ukrainian armed forces drones. The pictures show the exact location as well as the bodies in the backyard. The conclusion of the research: “At least 11 Russians, most of whom are lying on the ground, were apparently shot at close range.” This “after one of their comrades suddenly opened fire on nearby Ukrainian soldiers”.
The actual act, which is said to have happened in mid-November in Luhansk, cannot be seen. But “it may well be that they all would have been captured as prisoners of war and would have survived if the man had not fired,” quotes Iva Vukušić, an expert on war crimes prosecutions at Utrecht University.
The UN is investigating the reports
The Russian Ministry of Defense has called for a “war crimes” investigation since the videos emerged. Moscow talks about the “intentional and methodical killing of more than ten bound Russian soldiers”. A statement from Moscow’s foreign ministry on Friday accused Ukraine of “serious violations of international humanitarian law”.
Lubinets, on the other hand, accuses the Russians of a “war crime”. Clips from the video would clearly show that Russian soldiers “used feigned surrender” to “open fire on Ukrainian forces.”
“We are aware of the videos and we are investigating them,” Marta Hurtado, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office, said on Friday. The UN human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine recently said it had credible reports of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war and civilians on both sides. (bag)