Ukraine accuses Russian forces of "executing" unarmed soldiers in graphic video

Kyiv, Ukraine - Ukraine launched an inquiry on Sunday into what it said was an "execution" by Russian forces of two unarmed Ukrainian soldiers who had signalled their intention to surrender.

Russian are being accused of executing surrendering Ukrainian soldiers after footage of an incident reportedly filmed near the Avdiivka battleground emerged.
Russian are being accused of executing surrendering Ukrainian soldiers after footage of an incident reportedly filmed near the Avdiivka battleground emerged.  © REUTERS

Ukrainian officials condemned the reported incident as a "war crime".

There was no official reaction from Moscow.

On Saturday a short video, whose authenticity could not be verified, was posted on Telegram showing two men coming out of a shelter, one with his hands above his head, before lying on the ground in front of another group of soldiers.

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This is followed by what appears to be gunfire, and rising smoke, before the video cuts off abruptly.

The public prosecutor's office in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk said that according to "preliminary data", the images were filmed near the village of Stepove, close to Avdiivka, an eastern town where fighting is raging.

"The video shows how a group of people in Russian uniforms shoot at close range two unarmed servicemen in the uniform of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who surrendered as prisoners," the prosecutor's office wrote.

"Investigators and prosecutors have started an investigation... The killing of prisoners of war is a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions and is classified as a serious international crime."

The Ukrainian army urged the international community to hold Russia's military leadership "accountable".

In March, another video went viral, appearing to show a Ukrainian soldier being shot dead after shouting "glory to Ukraine."

At that time, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said his office had documented numerous violations of international humanitarian law against prisoners of war.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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