Ukraine war crimes? Horrifying video shows Ukrainians allegedly executing Russian soldiers

Ukraine war crimes? Horrifying video shows Ukrainians allegedly executing Russian soldiers
Ukrainian soldiers walk past destroyed buildings on the front line on December 8, 2021, in Marinka, Ukraine. (Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Horrific footage released on April 6, 2022, from Bucha, Ukraine appears to show Ukrainian soldiers committing war crimes. The stunning video has since gone viral, days after the liberation of Bucha revealed mass graves, rape and murder of women, and torture of men by Russian troops. It is likely to lend credence to the Russian claim the images and videos from Bucha are "staged", and in fact committed by Ukraine and not Russia.

Ever since Russia began its invasion, it has been accused of committing several war crimes including targeting women and children, running Nazi-style concentration camps, and using cluster bombs. However, Russia has hit back with its own claims against Ukraine, many of which remain unverifiable. However, it certainly appears as if Russia has good reason to make those claims, based on the April 6 video, which is now going viral on social media. 

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The footage is one of the few showing just how frustrated and angry Ukrainians are with the invaders. Over the past week, we've heard reports of Ukrainians poisoning food to kill Russian soldiers, even as they retreat from areas around Kyiv after an order from the Kremlin to focus on liberating the Donbas region. 

Remains of Russian tanks after Ukrainian soldiers ambushed them near Dmytrivka, Ukraine. (@UKRAINENOWphoto/Twitter)

Did Ukraine commit war crimes?

The footage was taken near the village of Dmytrivka, seven miles from Bucha, shortly after Ukrainian forces ambushed Russian troops in the area. After that ambush, several soldiers are seen with their hands tied behind their back, before being brutally executed by Ukrainian soldiers. "He's still alive. Film these marauders. Look, he's still alive. He's gasping," one Ukrainian can be heard saying, leading another to shoot a Russian with his head covered in a jacket three times. 

Another three are seen lying dead near the soldier who was shot, all wearing military fatigues typically worn by Russian units. The soldier who shot the Russian has been identified as Ukrainian, based on his flag patches, while others can be heard saying "glory to Ukraine". The video has been verified by The New York Times, so it is very likely that the Ukrainians did indeed kill captured Russian soldiers. 

It is unclear when exactly the video was taken, but it is believed to be on or around March 30. The unit committing the killings is also not clear, but one website claims it is the work of the 'Georgian Legion', a paramilitary unit of Georgian volunteers that was formed in 2014. According to Article 23(c) of the 1899 Hague Regulations, soldiers cannot kill or wound "an enemy who, having laid down arms, or having no longer means of defense, has surrendered at discretion."

The video shows exactly that, which according to the International Criminal Court is a war crime. It puts Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a very tough position after he has repeatedly pushed for a war crimes investigation into Russian atrocities. So far, Ukraine has not commented on the video, and whether it would take action against the soldiers. Russia too has not commented yet but is very likely to use it to challenge the west's hypocrisy. 

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