On Saturday, a Facebook user named 'Yashka Tsygankov' posted several graphic photos of what appears to be a captured fighter of the anti-Kiev militia in eastern Ukraine, with his left and right index fingers shot and/or cut off.
Accompanying the gruesome images is some bragging by Tsygankov about a recent operation allegedly carried out by the Ukrainian military against a militia checkpoint. "This was good training for an offensive toward Donetsk…We killed them all, apart from one. Seems to be a local, as of recently."
What makes the post somewhat dubious is Tsygankov's claims about Georgian and American support in the operation. Noting that the operation was led by Right Sector volunteers, the Dnepr-1 territorial battalion and the 93rd Brigade of the Ukrainian army, Tsygankov also noted that Georgian and American personnel and equipment was involved in the battle. The user stated that the Georgian sniper "worked great," while voicing his "thanks to American guidance systems, which provide excellent guidance." Tsygankov also claimed that American spotters participated in the operation.
The Amnesty Report
Earlier this week, Amnesty International released a report, notable for the fact that it admits that Kiev too is responsible for the abuse and torture of prisoners of war. The report calls on both sides to "put an end to these crimes," adding that "Ukrainian authorities must investigate all allegations of war crimes and other abuses" and "bring to justice all those responsible for perpetrating such heinous acts."
Among the main criticisms aimed at the Donbass militia is their alleged propensity for carrying out summary executions. Amnesty noted that the situation surrounding militia fighters is complicated by the fact that their ranks include a variety of fighting groups.
Commenting on the report in an interview for France's Liberation Magazine, Amnesty senior advisor Joanne Mariner stated that the "acts of torture identified by Amnesty International are only the tip of the iceberg."
Asked whether the report and its revelation of Ukrainian war crimes should come as a shock to Europe, Mariner noted that she hopes so. "It would be disastrous if Europe [continued to support] Kiev with knowledge of these facts. The Western media have long focused their attention on the violence committed by pro-Russian separatists, and the content of the report should come as a shock."
Ultimately, Mariner noted that if Kiev "is slow to act in taking punitive measures against the perpetrators, the European Union, which has supported the government of Petro Poroshenko since the beginning of hostilities, can intervene diplomatically," exerting various forms of pressure on its ally.