French Newspaper Verifies Video of Ukrainians Torturing Russian POWs, Pinpoints Responsible Unit
18:02 GMT 15.05.2022 (Updated: 18:05 GMT 15.05.2022)
© AP Photo / Marienko AndrewUkrainian soldiers inspect a damaged military vehicle after fighting in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022
© AP Photo / Marienko Andrew
The first videos of Ukrainian soldiers humiliating and torturing captured Russian servicemen emerged as early as March. Despite Kiev vowing to investigate the cases, which violate the Geneva Convention, there has been no information of the probes.
French newspaper Le Monde has verified the authenticity of footage that emerged late in March showing several Ukrainian soldiers shooting three captured, unarmed and tied-up Russian captives.
In the video, Ukrainian soldiers shot the Russians in the legs and left them to bleed without offering medical assistance.
Le Monde conducted a thorough investigation into the video, going on to confirm that the Ukrainian soldiers had violated international law. Under the Geneva Convention, uniformed enemy combatants are to be considered POWs upon capture or surrender and are to be treated humanely, including supplying medical care.
In its probe, the Paris-based newspaper determined that the video was shot between 20 and 27 March in the Ukrainian village of Malaya Rogan. Investigators judged the location due to the weather and shape of the horizon. The newspaper also alleged that the three captured Russians were artillery soldiers, and that their torture was "revenge" for the purported shelling of Kharkov. Russian Defence Ministry repeatedly stressed that its forces only target military objectives in Ukraine.
The newspaper also found evidence that the Slobozhanshchyna voluntary battalion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was in Malaya Rogan at the time. The outlet found footage of the battalion leader Andri Ianholenko dragging the three Russian soldiers not far from the shooting location.
The newspaper stressed that it found no way to confirm the exact identity of the perpetrators, or if they belonged to the Slobozhanshchyna battalion. It was, however, confident that the battalion’s fighters and leader were at the location where the video was shot on the same day and roughly at the same time.
26 April, 20:45 GMT
When the video first emerged late in March, Moscow condemned the actions of the Ukrainian military. In response, Kiev promised to investigate, calling the evidence unacceptable. However, no probe results have been announced to date.
Despite Kiev’s condemnation, the leader of another voluntary battalion in Ukraine, the Georgian Legion, later defied international law by openly stating that fighters under his command will take no prisoners.
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