June 23, 2024

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has documented six extrajudicial executions of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) and confirmed the authenticity of the videos showing the murder of a soldier after the phrase “Glory to Ukraine” and the video of the beheading of a Ukrainian serviceman.

Source: a UNHCR report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, cited by Interfax-Ukraine

Details: The document covers the period from 1 February to 31 July 2023.

In total, the UN documented six executions of Ukrainian POWs, which occurred before 1 February. No executions were recorded after this timeframe.

Among those mentioned in the report are cases already known from videos posted online on 6 March and 11 April 2023. In the first video, the Russian soldiers shot a Ukrainian prisoner of war after he uttered “Glory to Ukraine.”

The second video shows a Russian soldier beheading a Ukrainian serviceman. The UN says it “has reasonable grounds” to believe both videos are authentic.

In addition, the report cites cases when in September 2022, a Russian serviceman shot a Ukrainian prisoner of war who had his leg wounded after he stepped on a mine when the Russian soldiers forced him to perform dangerous work near the frontline positions.

Another Ukrainian prisoner of war was shot dead when he refused to do such work. Both prisoners were in Donetsk Oblast in August 2022. For three months, the Russians forced them to carry heavy ammunition to Russian frontline positions and take them away. Prisoners of war told the UN that at least five of them were injured while doing this work.

Another case describes a situation after the occupation of the village of Sloboda, Chernihiv Oblast on 9 March 2022, when Russian invaders captured two Ukrainian servicemen hiding in a civilian building. On 31 March 2022, their bodies were found with gunshot wounds.

A total of 56 Ukrainian servicemen were interviewed by OHCHR during the reporting period. 51 of them said that they had been subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment.

The organisation also says that the Russian authorities in the temporarily occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast, as well as in the Russian Federation, convicted 37 Ukrainian prisoners of war on various criminal charges, in particular for terrorism.

The reports and its conclusions are based on data collected during field missions, visits to places of detention, as well as remote monitoring of the occupied territory. Its findings are based on 1,226 interviews with victims, witnesses, survivors, their relatives, lawyers, representatives of the government, civil society and other sources.

Background:

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