13:25 27 Feb 2024

Russian commanders likely give direct orders to execute Ukrainian prisoners – Ukraine's prosecutor general

Photo: From open sources

Instances of unarmed Ukrainian soldiers being killed that have occurred recently indicate that Russian commanders likely issue direct orders to execute Ukrainian prisoners. 

The head of the Department of the Prosecutor General's Office for Countering Crimes Committed in Armed Conflict, Yurii Bielousov, stated this in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

"Since the end of November last year, the number of such cases has been increasing. This indicates that the top leadership of the Russian Armed Forces supports such actions. If it were an isolated case, it would have been the actions of a specific soldier. Considering the geography and the number of recent cases, the higher leadership clearly supports this," the law enforcement officer said.

According to Bielousov, Russian commanders not only fail to prevent such practices but, apparently, actively support them.

"And most likely, they give direct orders to carry out such actions," the prosecutor added.

He also stated that a specific unit of the Russian Armed Forces is responsible for the shooting of Ukrainian prisoners of war, the video of which was published by the DeepState portal on February 25, 2024. However, he did not specify which unit he was referring to.

By publishing videos of the executions of Ukrainian prisoners, Russian military personnel are attempting to demoralize the Ukrainian Armed Forces, according to a representative of the Prosecutor General's Office.

Bielousov also added that the prosecution had identified specific individuals in some of these cases where Ukrainian prisoners of war were shot.

"We have testimonies from Russian military personnel confirming this as well. We already have verdicts in such cases, like in Chernihiv, where a Russian army major was sentenced to life imprisonment for executing a prisoner of war in March 2022. We have cases in courts regarding these incidents. We have suspicions in Kharkiv and Kharkiv region. We are currently collecting materials on several recent cases. I believe suspicions will be announced soon. We are sharing information with international partners and the International Criminal Court. We are trying to involve as many resources, states, to show what is happening," the law enforcement officer reported.

Other recent cases of the shooting of Ukrainian prisoners of war

The DeepState project claims that Russian occupiers shot all six Ukrainian soldiers held captive at the "Museum" position in Avdiivka. Fighters recognized their comrades in the video distributed by the Russians. The video shows the bodies of the executed soldiers lying in Garage No. 1.

Relatives of some defenders who were not evacuated from the "Zenith" position recognized the bodies of the military in the video that the Russians distributed, "Investigation.Info" reports.

The 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade explained that it was forced to leave six of its fighters at the "Zenith" strongpoint in Avdiivka: Russian occupiers promised to evacuate the severely wounded and later exchange them, but in the end, the fighters were shot.

On February 18, Russian servicemen shot dead two Ukrainian prisoners of war in the area of responsibility of the Khortytsia Operational-Strategic Grouping.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have also confirmed information that Russian occupiers shot dead two unarmed Ukrainian soldiers.

On February 20, a video of the shooting of three Ukrainian defenders by Russian army troops near the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region spread on the Internet.

The Donetsk Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation into both cases.


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