Graphic video circulating online this week appeared to show Ukrainian soldiers killing captured Russian troops near Kyiv, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The footage verified by NYT may have been filmed after a Ukrainian ambush of a retreating Russian column near the village of Dmytrivka on or around March 30. At that time, Russia’s military announced the withdrawal from parts of northern Ukraine amid its shifting focus toward the east.
“He’s wheezing,” a man is heard saying in Russian as the camera points to two bodies in camouflage uniforms lying in a pool of blood on an abandoned road, with one of the bodies seen breathing heavily.
The body is shot twice, then a distant voice yells out “leave him the f*ck alone” before a third shot renders him motionless.
“I don’t want to leave him the f*ck alone,” says the shooter, whose face is not shown in the video.
The bodies of at least three other Russian soldiers — indicated by a white armband some of them are wearing — are seen across the road. One of them has a gunshot wound to his forehead and hands tied behind his back.
The New York Times said the Ukrainian soldiers can be identified by their flag patches and blue armbands.
An excerpt of the video published by Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency on March 30 said the apparent ambush was the work of a Georgian volunteer paramilitary unit formed in 2014.
“The Georgian Legion continues to help Ukrainians in the purge of the Kyiv region from ‘liberators’,” it said in a social media post.
Russia’s military — facing credible war crime accusations itself — this week accused Ukraine of torturing captured Russian soldiers.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it was working with Russian law enforcement agencies to collect evidence of alleged Ukrainian war crimes and share it with international organizations.
On Thursday, state media reported that Russia’s top investigator Alexander Bastrykin had arrived in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region for consultations on what Moscow refers to as Ukrainian war crimes.
Bastrykin on Tuesday ordered a probe into the video that appeared to capture Russian prisoners of war being executed.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Russian state media Wednesday that all reports of human rights violations must be thoroughly investigated when asked about The New York Times report.
Addressing an earlier video of Ukrainian soldiers allegedly shooting and beating captured Russian soldiers, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovich last week called the mistreatment of prisoners of war “absolutely unacceptable.”