November 19, 2022 Russia-Ukraine News

Russia has accused Ukraine of war crimes after a video emerged on social media which Moscow says shows Russian soldiers being killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces.

The video, which was geotagged by CNN, was filmed on the outskirts of the village of Makiivka, which is in the eastern Luhansk region, about 25 miles (about 40 kilometers) northeast of the town of Lyman.

It’s unclear when the video was filmed, but it’s most likely November 12 – the date the video first appeared online – or in the days immediately preceding it. The village was declared free from Russian control only in an announcement by the military administration of the Luhansk region on November 13.

The edited video purports to show captured Russian soldiers in an act of surrender, with several men lying on the ground on their foreheads with their hands on their heads. Other soldiers come out of a building one by one and lie down next to them in the yard.

A voice apparently directing the surrender can be heard shouting, “Come out, one by one. Which of you is the officer? Everyone out? Go out!”

After about ten men fell to the ground, another soldier emerged from the same building and appeared to open fire in the direction of the surrendering Ukrainian soldiers.

A brief exchange of gunfire is heard before the music video ends abruptly.

A second clip filmed later from a drone above the same location shows the bodies of what appear to be the same Russian soldiers in the yard, most only a few meters from where they were lying in the first clip. What appears to be pools of blood are clearly visible in several places.

CNN hasn’t been able to verify exactly what happened in the first music video, and it’s unclear what happened in the time between the first music video and filming. drone footage.

Marta Hurtado, spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office, said, according to Reuters: “We are aware of the videos and we are reviewing them. Allegations of summary executions of persons hors de combat should be promptly, fully and effectively investigated. , and all authors held responsible.”

A Russian Defense Ministry statement denounced what it called the “deliberate and methodical killing of more than ten immobilized Russian servicemen… by direct bullets to the head”, alleging it was the latest war crime. committed by Ukraine during the war.

CNN has contacted the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to comment on the video clips twice in 24 hours, but has yet to receive a response.

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s 80th Airborne Brigade told CNN the drone footage was taken by the brigade’s aerial reconnaissance unit. Asked to check if the Ukrainian soldiers in the clip were also members of his brigade, the spokesperson simply replied that he did not recognize any of the men in the clip.

Executing prisoners of war is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, as is feigning surrender.

Earlier in the week, during a briefing with reporters before Makiivka’s videos were released widely, the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, said that the United Nations had received credible information on the torture and ill-treatment inflicted on prisoners. of war by Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Asked to compare the level of abuse, Bogner said Russian mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners was ‘quite systematic’, while she said it was ‘not systematic’ for Ukraine to mistreat Russian soldiers, according to Reuters.

More context: A UN panel of experts said in September that its investigation had found evidence of war crimes committed during Russia’s war in Ukraine, including cases of rape and torture of children.

Christi C. Elwood