Russia accused of killing unarmed prisoners of war

Russia accused of killing unarmed prisoners of war

KYIV (BBC): Ukraine has launched an investigation after a video emerged purportedly showing Russian troops killing two Ukrainian soldiers who had surrendered.

Ukrainian prosecutors say the footage shows “a group of people in Russian uniforms” shooting the unarmed Ukrainians at close range.

The prosecutors say the killing of prisoners of war is a “gross violation” of the laws and customs of conflict. The video has not been independently verified. Russia has not commented.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, both Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of violating the Geneva conventions – a set of international humanitarian laws regulating the conduct of armed conflict, and specifically the treatment of POWs.

In a statement on Sunday, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said a pre-trial investigation was launched “for violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with intentional murder”.

It said the killing of POWs qualified as “a grave international crime”. Preliminary data suggested that the shooting happened near the village of Stepove in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, the office added. It gave no details about who shot the video and when.

The area has seen fierce fighting in recent weeks, as Russian troops have been attempting to seize the nearby town of Avdiivka – a Ukrainian stronghold just outside the Russian-held regional capital of Donetsk.