Ukrainian officials accused Russia Sunday of committing war crimes following the release of a video allegedly showing armed Russian soldiers shooting two unarmed Ukrainian soldiers, leading to the launching of an investigation by Ukrainian prosecutors.
JURIST has reviewed the video footage, but out of respect for the victim and their families, we will not link directly to the video. The footage shows a group of people in Russian uniforms shooting, at close range, two unarmed soldiers. The unarmed soldiers have been labeled by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General as servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
In a statement regarding the footage, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General affirmed that “Under the procedural guidance of the Donetsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office, a pre-trial investigation was started in criminal proceedings on the fact of violation of the laws and customs of war, combined with intentional murder.” The Prosecutor General further stated that “The killing of prisoners of war is a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions and is classified as a grave international crime.”
This report is the most recent in a long list of accusations of war crimes committed by Russia since the war in Ukraine began in February 2022. A recent investigation from the UN reported that Russian forces have used torture, committed rapes and acts of sexual violence and unlawfully deported Ukrainian children from their homes in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Putin administration’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, on allegations of unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied territories of Ukraine into Russia, a war crime under the Rome Statute.