The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is studying a series of videos showing Ukrainian armed forces allegedly killing several Russian soldiers in an apparent surrender after one of them shot their captors as they step up pressure on Ukraine to clarify what happened. .
“We are aware of the videos and are investigating them.” Marta Hurtado told Reuters on Friday, the spokesperson of the UN office. “Complaints of summary executions of people hors de combat must be promptly, fully and effectively investigated and those responsible must be held accountable.”
The New York Times Check the videos of the incident, which began on November 12 and was taken in Makiivka, a town in Lugansk region, which was retaken by Ukrainian soldiers. As the American newspaper explains, “At least 11 Russians, most of whom are seen lying on the ground, were shot at close range after one of their comrades fired a surprise shot at nearby Ukrainian soldiers.” However, they do not show how and why the Russian soldiers were killed.
In the videos, several Russian soldiers are seen lying face down in a courtyard, while others come out of the building with their hands raised and join the group. Suddenly, one of the Russian soldiers who came out into the yard shoots at the Ukrainians, and you can see how one of the Ukrainians points to the sky and cuts off the video shot by the phone.
However, another aerial video taken from a drone shows Russian soldiers lying, apparently dead, most in the same position in which they surrendered and surrounded by pools of blood. As for the Russian soldier who fired first, he also apparently died in the same place from where the attack began.
Moscow and Kiev have launched cross-accusations of war crimes over the incident. Russia accuses Ukraine of “mercilessly shooting unarmed Russian prisoners of war,” and Ukrainian human rights activist Dmyto Lubinets claims that the Russians opened fire during the act of surrender. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanyshina said on Saturday that “of course, the authorities in Kiev will investigate this video”, but also said that it was “highly unlikely” that the short clips show what Moscow claims. Associated Press agency reports.
Some experts consider this a war crime in Ukraine, as soldiers lying face down on the ground are considered hors de combat. However, others believe that more details should be known, such as determining the exact moment of the murder. If the shooting continued and they were killed in the incident, it would be more difficult to prove a war crime than if they were killed in revenge.
States have an obligation to treat prisoners of war in their possession humanely at all times from their capture to their release and repatriation. Both Ukraine and Russia are parties to the Third Geneva Convention, which sets requirements for the treatment of prisoners of war.
A week ago, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine He said he spoke to Ukrainian prisoners of warCaptured by the Russians, most report torture and ill-treatment. They also documented cases of mistreatment of Russian prisoners of war captured by Ukraine and received “credible allegations of summary executions of individuals.”
The head of the mission, Matilda Bogner, said that Ukraine gave them confidential access to the prisoners in the internment sites, while Russia did not give them such access (they interviewed the Ukrainian prisoners after their release). He also noted that Kiev had launched a series of criminal investigations following allegations of ill-treatment of prisoners of war by members of its armed forces.
Source: El Diario