Ukraine probing possible war crime tied to purported footage of POW shot dead
Ukrainian authorities have launched an investigation into gruesome footage purporting to show an unarmed soldier being shot dead by Russian forces as he declared one last stand.
The disturbing footage, which has quickly spread around social media, was addressed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his nightly speech on Monday.
“Today, a video emerged showing the occupiers brutally killing a warrior who bravely shouted to their faces: ‘Glory of Ukraine!’ Zelensky said. “I want us all to respond to his words together, in unity: ‘Glory to the hero! Glory to the heroes! Glory to Ukraine!’ And we will find the killers.”
It is unclear when or where the footage was taken and has not been verified – but it once again raises fears that Russian troops have committed heinous war crimes more than a year into their invasion of Ukraine.
In the video, a soldier is seen smoking while standing. He recites “Glory to Ukraine” in Ukrainian before he is shot dead by an unseen shooter or shooters.
The man soon falls into a shallow hole dug into the ground as a voice is heard saying “Die, b-h” in Russian.
According to the footage, the soldier had a Ukrainian flag emblazoned on the arm of his uniform.
Ukraine’s chief prosecutor announced that a criminal investigation into the alleged execution is underway.
“Even war has its own laws,” said Andriy Kostin, the country’s prosecutor general, the rules of international law systematically ignored by the Russian criminal regime. But sooner or later, the punishment will come. “
Andriy Yermak, the head of Kiev’s presidential office, said the man was a Ukrainian prisoner of war and that the shooting was part of a “deliberate policy of terror” by Moscow.
“The murder of a hostage is the latest Russian war crime,” Yermak wrote in a tweet. “Every such war crime will be avenged.”
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Kiev and Western allies have accused the Kremlin of countless war crimes, estimated in the thousands.
Moscow has denied the atrocities and targeting civilians.
Zelensky estimated that more than 70,000 Russian war crimes had been committed so far when he met with US Attorney General Merrick Garland and top European legal officials on Friday.
With post wire