Russia has accused Ukraine of war crimes after videos surfaced on social media in which Moscow said Russian soldiers had died after surrendering to Ukrainian forces.
The video, which has been geolocated by CNN, was filmed on the outskirts of the village of Makievka, in eastern Luhansk region, about 25 miles (about 40 kilometers) northeast of the city of Liman.
It is not clear when the video was filmed, but it was most likely either on 12 November – the date the video first appeared online – or in the days just before that. The village was declared free of Russian control only in a declaration by the military administration of the Luhansk Region on 13 November.
The edited video shows Russian soldiers caught in the act of surrender, with several men lying on the ground on their fronts with their hands over their heads. More soldiers are seen coming out one by one from a building and lying next to them in the courtyard.
A voice apparently directing the surrender can be heard shouting: “Come out one by one. Which one of you is the officer? Everyone out? come out!”
After about 10 people fall to the ground, another soldier emerges from the same building and appears to open fire in the direction of the surrendering Ukrainian soldiers.
Gunshots are heard before the video clip abruptly ends.
A second clip, filmed later from a drone above the same spot, shows the same bodies of Russian soldiers in the yard, about a few meters from where they lay in the first clip. Blood stains are clearly visible in many places.
CNN has been unable to verify exactly what happened in the first video clip, and it is unclear what exactly happened in the period between the filming of the first clip and the drone footage.
According to Reuters, a spokeswoman for the UN human rights office, Marta Hurtado, said: “We are aware of the videos and we are looking into them. Allegations of summary executions of people are being investigated promptly, thoroughly and effectively.” must be known, and any perpetrators will be held accountable.”
A statement from Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “deliberate and methodical killing of more than ten stationary Russian soldiers … by a direct shot to the head”, alleging that it was the latest war crime committed by Ukraine in the war.
CNN has contacted the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces for comment on the video clip twice in a 24-hour period, but has not yet received a response.
A spokeswoman for Ukraine’s 80th Airborne Brigade told CNN that the drone footage was shot by the brigade’s aerial reconnaissance unit. Asked to verify whether the Ukrainian soldiers in the clip were also members of his brigade, the spokesman said only that he did not recognize any of the men in the clip.
The execution of prisoners of war is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, as is pretending to surrender.
Earlier this week, the head of the UN human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, in a briefing with journalists before the Makievka video went into wide circulation, said the UN had received credible reports of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners . The reason for the war by both Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reported.
Asked to compare the level of abuses committed, Bogner said that the mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners by the Russians was “quite systematic”, while he added that it was “not systematic” for Ukraine to mistreat Russian soldiers. Was, according to Reuters.
More Context: A UN panel of experts said in September that their investigation had found evidence that war crimes were committed during Russia’s war in Ukraine, including cases of rape and torture of children.