War crime or military action: Ukrainians kill unarmed soldiers when another Russian fired


Since the war began Russia and Ukraine they have accused each other of violating international humanitarian law, a set of laws that is intended to limit and mitigate the effects -and therefore, the suffering- of armed conflicts.

And according to the United Nations, both armies would have committed war crimes since the start of the invasion in February. At least that’s the conclusion they came to last month. its researchers after documenting cases in which Russian forces had tortured civilians and the military, and after discovering that Ukrainian troops had also abused prisoners, although “unsystematically“.

Now, the latest accusation comes from the Russian Ministry of Defense which, based on a series of videos posted on social networks, has blamed the Ukrainian army for execute at point blank range about a dozen captured soldiers who had laid down their arms.

[Hallan cámaras de tortura en cuatro edificios de Jersón “y la búsqueda acaba de comenzar”]

This would be a violation of international law, according to the Rome Statute which condemns the action of “killing or wounding a combatant who, having laid down his arms or having no means to defend himself, has surrendered”.

“It is a methodical and intentional murder,” the Kremlin has denounced. However, the images used to support this claim (and which have been verified by the New York Times) show only two scenes: one before and one after, which makes it impossible to know for sure what really happened. Thus, where the Russians see a war crime, the Ukrainians see a response in self defense.

Ukraine has accused Russia of committing war crimes against civilians in cities like Bucha.

Rodrigo Abd


Before and after

A first recording, apparently made in Makiyivkaa town near the Lugansk region liberated in mid-November, shows how a armed Ukrainian soldier cautiously approaches to a shed. The following image shows a group of 11 Russian servicemen, dressed in uniform and wearing jackets and helmets, lying face down on the ground next to each other with their arms outstretched or above their heads. Apparently, they are alive, since several of them move.

Standing, two Ukrainian fighters point their rifles at the ground as they watch as four others slowly emerge from the shed, some with weapons raised, and join their peers. Suddenly, what seems like a peaceful surrender goes awry. A last Russian soldier comes out of the unit and opens fire. The image blurs and only shots are heard.

[“Misiles rusos sobre nuestras cabezas”: Murray relata su hora más dura junto a BHL en Jersón]

The last one is a aerial recording from the same location where you can see the motionless and apparently dead soldiers. All of them lying in the same position as when they surrendered and with blood around the head. Also the Russian soldier who fired lies on the ground.

ongoing investigations

After the images had circulated for days on various pro-Kremlin media channels, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharovanoted that the video was “further evidence of the crimes of Ukrainian neo-Nazis and the flagrant violation of international humanitarian law by Ukraine.”

It also indicated that the Investigation Committee had opened a criminal case for the execution of “at least 11 unarmed Russian servicemen” who have not yet been identified. “We demand that international organizations condemn this flagrant crime and carry out a thorough investigation into it,” he said.

“The laws of war apply to all parties equally: both the aggressor State and the defending State”

Beth Van Schaack, US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice

Along these lines, Marta Hurtado, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office said in statements to the news agency Reuterskeep up with the videos” and have opened an investigation. “The accusations of summary executions of persons outside of combat must be promptly, fully and effectively investigated, and any perpetrators held to account,” he added.

The United States is also reportedly conducting inquiries into the alleged war crimes. “We are following it quite closely,” he confirmed on Monday. beth van schaack, US ambassador for global criminal justice. Furthermore, during a press conference she recalled that “the laws of war apply to all parts equally: both the aggressor state and the defending state” and that “all parties to the conflict must comply with international law or face the consequences.”

Russia-Ukraine War



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