Pressure grows on Ukraine to clarify the possible execution of

Pressure grows on Ukraine to clarify the possible execution of 10 Russian soldiers | International

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have been compromised by an alleged war crime committed within their ranks. Four videos filmed by their own units, and later released by media related to the Kremlin, show the possible execution of 10 Russian soldiers on the Lugansk front. The Ukrainian Ombudsman, Dmitro Lubinets, affirmed this weekend that it was a Moscow setup, but the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned that what happened will be investigated and asks that kyiv also do so.

The events analyzed occurred on an undetermined date in November, during the Ukrainian advance in the province of Lugansk, in the east of the country. A Ukrainian infantry platoon surrounded 11 soldiers at a farm in the town of Makiivka. The Ukrainian unit filmed part of what happened with the mobile of one of its soldiers. Videos recorded by a drone are added to this document. A large number of Ukrainian units at the front, especially artillery units, use small reconnaissance drones. The Ukrainian platoon entered the courtyard of the farm and the 10 Russian soldiers came out of the house, with their hands raised. They were ordered to lie on the ground, face down, which they did. Suddenly, a Russian soldier burst from inside the house with a rifle and opened fire on the Ukrainians. This soldier was killed, according to the images captured by the drone.

After an unspecified period of time, the drone used by the Ukrainian troops filmed the 10 Russian soldiers who had supposedly surrendered already dead. The bodies, located in practically the same positions in which they previously appeared alive, now appeared in large pools of blood, some with wounds caused by ammunition of a larger caliber than that caused by an assault rifle. The movement of the Ukrainian unit in the courtyard of the farm was covered by a soldier who was aiming at the Russians at ground level with a large-caliber PK machine gun, according to the images from the drone.

The New York Times published this Sunday an analysis of the videos in which it confirmed its veracity and in which various experts in war crimes pointed out that more information was necessary about the circumstances of the death of these soldiers. According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, it would be a war crime if the soldiers had surrendered and laid down their weapons.

The Ukrainian Ombudsman claimed that the Russian soldiers faked their surrender to kill the Ukrainian platoon. “The Russian military could not be considered as prisoners of war, but as combatants committing treason,” Lubinets said. The Russian government has accused Ukrainian troops of committing a war crime. The UN Human Rights Office has confirmed to the Reuters and France Presse agencies that it is investigating the event. Olga Stefanishina, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister for integration into the European Union, assured the Associated Press (AP) on Sunday that her government would investigate what happened, although she ruled out that it was summary executions or a possible war crime. In a statement also sent to AP, the UN Mission for Human Rights in Ukraine required the country’s authorities to investigate the facts “immediately.”

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Violations on both sides

Most of the complaints about the violation of the laws of war and human rights in Ukraine fall on Russia. UN investigators have confirmed that Russian troops have committed multiple war crimes against soldiers and civilians. In the first field work carried out by the UN, focused on the months of February and March, a report presented last October to the UN General Assembly determined that “the impact on the civilian population in Ukraine is immense. The loss of life is counted in thousands. The destruction of infrastructures is devastating”.

The highest authorities of the European Commission have described as a war crime the Russian offensive against the Ukrainian energy infrastructure, which has left millions of people without resources to spend the winter. “The Russian Armed Forces are responsible for the vast majority of violations [de derechos] identified, including war crimes. Ukrainian forces have also committed human rights violations, including incidents that qualify as war crimes,” said the UN report by the team of independent experts led by Norwegian judge Erik Mose.

Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Mission for Human Rights in Ukraine, presented a report last week which concluded that both sides had tortured prisoners of war. All interviews with the imprisoned fighters took place on Ukrainian-controlled territory because Russia denied the UN access to their detention centers. On the Russian side, the mistreatment of prisoners of war would be systematic, according to testimonies collected by the UN; On the Ukrainian side, according to Bogner, her team has received “strong accusations of summary executions of soldiers hors de combat, and several cases of torture and ill-treatment, committed by members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

Bogner stressed that they were still waiting to receive some result from the investigations opened by the Ukrainian authorities to elucidate these cases. The UN representative added her “concern” about the judicial processes opened in Ukraine against Ukrainian citizens who fight in the Russian Army: “In international armed conflicts, the prosecution of combatants for their mere participation in hostilities is prohibited under the law international humanitarian.

Both Ukrainian public opinion and its government have reacted belligerently to any criticism from their allies and human rights organizations. Amnesty International has suffered a smear campaign in Ukraine after it published a report last August warning that the kyiv Armed Forces were putting non-combatants at risk in areas close to the war front by placing their units next to buildings and facilities where the civilian population lives.

This newspaper has been able to confirm in the months that the conflict lasts that it is not unusual for troops to sleep in residential buildings with civilians, to avoid the risk of sleeping in the barracks. The report of independent UN experts last October also made mention of this: “There are examples of the two sides, although to different degrees, of failing to protect civilians or civilian objects by locating military objects within or near areas densely populated.”

A few weeks before the controversial report, Amnesty International had released an investigation accusing Russia of killing hundreds of civilians in Kharkiv in bombing raids with prohibited weapons.

Another case in which the Ukrainian authorities rejected the accusations of a possible war crime occurred last March in the town of Mala Rohan, in the Kharkiv province, and in which a video showed how three Russian prisoners of war were shot. in the legs when they had already been caught. The UN report from last October, but also another document from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), considered these facts to be true.

The Ukrainian security forces, moreover, are not very transparent regarding the prosecution of the collaborators that Russia has in Ukraine. In the city of Kherson, liberated on November 11 after more than eight months of Russian occupation, testimonies collected last week by EL PAÍS indicate that possible collaborators with the occupying forces are arrested every day, and even executed. summary. In recent days, images have appeared of people tied up in various locations in Kherson and exposed to public ridicule, accused of having worked for the enemy. Many of these collaborators are accused of having provided information to the Russian Army about people who have disappeared.

Even so, most of the documented abuses are on the Russian side. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry has detailed that it is investigating some 500 cases of human rights violations committed by the invading forces in Kherson, from torture, including minors, to summary executions and disappearances. The Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office confirmed on Monday that four buildings used by the Russians to torture civilians had been located in Kherson.

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