Ukrainian Soldier Video – anger Intensifies over Russian War crimes in Ukraine

Ukrainian Soldier Video – anger Intensifies over Russian War crimes in Ukraine

On Wednesday, Ukraine initiated an inquiry into a disturbing video allegedly displaying the decapitation of a Ukrainian soldier. This is the most recent claim of brutal acts reportedly committed by Russia since their invasion in February 2022.

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The video rapidly circulated on the internet, provoking indignation from Kyiv officials, such as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and global organizations. While the Kremlin acknowledged the video as “appalling,” it emphasized the need for verification.

A Twitter account @theUkrainepost has uploaded the graphic video on his profile and pinned it there.

Newztunnel could not independently confirm the authenticity of the video or establish the details of its location and time. The AP has decided not to distribute the video or use frame captures due to its highly graphic content.

In other news, a Russian defense official reported that combatants from Russia’s paramilitary Wagner group have taken control of three districts in Bakhmut, a city that has been at the center of Moscow’s protracted campaign in the east for several months.

The video making rounds on the internet seems to display a man dressed in green military attire with a yellow armband, a common accessory for Ukrainian combatants. The man’s cries can be heard before another individual in camouflage proceeds to behead him using a knife.

In the video, a third individual displays a flak jacket, seemingly owned by the man being decapitated. All three men are heard speaking in Russian.

Following Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022, their forces have been accused of numerous violations and potential war crimes, as reported by the United Nations, human rights organizations, and The Associated Press. Ukraine has consistently charged Russia with intentionally targeting residential buildings and other civilian infrastructure in their attacks. Images of countless deceased civilians lying in the streets and mass graves in Bucha, after the withdrawal of Russian forces, have shocked the global community.

The International Criminal Court has released an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, charging him with war crimes and holding him personally accountable for the kidnapping of children from Ukraine.

The Kremlin refutes allegations of war crimes and the targeting of civilians.

Ukrainian forces have also faced accusations of misconduct, and last year, Kyiv announced it would examine a video circulating on the internet that Moscow claimed depicted Ukrainian troops killing Russian soldiers who may have been attempting to surrender.

President Zelenskyy emphasized that the brutality in the recent video would not be disregarded, and that the Russian forces would be held accountable for their actions.

“Every leader must respond. Don’t assume that it will be forgotten or that time will pass,” Zelenskyy stated in a video message.

In the video, Zelenskyy used forceful language to characterize Russian soldiers, referring to them as “beasts.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov acknowledged the video’s horrifying nature but emphasized the need for verification. “In this world of fakes, the authenticity of the footage must be examined,” he said during a conference call with journalists.

Ukraine’s state security service has initiated an investigation, as stated by Vasyl Maliuk, the head of the agency, also known as the SBU. According to Hanna Maliar, the deputy head of the Defense Ministry, officials are scrutinizing the video to identify the perpetrators as well as the victim.

On pro-Kremlin Russian Telegram channels, users did not confirm the video’s authenticity but also did not challenge it. Some argued that combat has toughened Russian soldiers, which could serve as justification for their actions.

Andrei Medvedev, a Russian state TV reporter and a member of the Moscow city legislature, suggested that the video’s release was “quite timely” for the Ukrainian military. He stated that it could potentially “boost the morale of their personnel ideologically” in preparation for an upcoming major counteroffensive.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Zelenskyy, also connected the release of the video to the anticipated offensive. However, he suggested it was intended to “undermine public morale or at least alter the psychological perception of the war at the moment.”

Ukraine’s human rights chief announced plans to ask the U.N. Human Rights Committee to conduct an investigation. Dmytro Lubinets stated that he has also contacted the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.N. Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, the U.N. Secretary-General, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Lubinets posted on Telegram that “a public execution of a captive signifies another violation of the Geneva Convention norms, international humanitarian law, and an infringement of the fundamental right to life.”

The U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine stated that it had previously recorded “serious breaches of international humanitarian law, including those perpetrated against prisoners of war.” The mission emphasized that “the recent incidents must also be thoroughly examined, and the culprits held responsible.”

The video sparked widespread outrage among Ukrainians.

Mykola Drobot, a 44-year-old Kyiv resident, expressed his horror, stating, “Such things cannot happen without the consent — silent or not — of the military and political leadership.”

Another Kyiv inhabitant, 40-year-old Yuliia Sievierina, speculated that the video was intended as “moral pressure on us to view ourselves as even more oppressed and emotionally distraught.”

“It doesn’t work,” she told the AP. “It only generates more anger and a desire for resistance.”

The war’s front lines have largely remained static for months, with most of the conflict concentrated around the city of Bakhmut.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov reported that Wagner forces had advanced in the area. Ukrainian officials did not immediately respond, but Zelenskyy has previously mentioned that his troops might withdraw if they face the risk of being encircled.

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