Allegations and a new video are making the rounds on the internet and social media that Ukraine may have committed a war crime by executing Russian prisoners. The UN is now reviewing the allegations. What will happen next?
The United Nations is reviewing reports that Ukrainians may have executed 10 Russian prisoners of war after videos authenticated by The New York Times appear to show a line of Russian soldiers that had been killed at close range.
The grisly videos, first posted on Ukrainian news sites and social media channels, do not show the killings, but before-and-after scenes of Russian soldiers lying on the ground in a line, appearing to have been shot dead at close range, The Times reported.
On Ukrainian channels, the videos were shared as examples of the country’s successful defense against Russian invaders, according to The Times.
According to a statement posted to Telegram by a spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the clips are “further evidence of the crimes committed by Ukrainian neo-Nazis.”
“We are aware of the videos and we are looking into them,” Marta Hurtado, a spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office said in a statement to Reuters. “Allegations of summary executions of people hors de combat should be promptly, fully and effectively investigated, and any perpetrators held to account.”
(The French phrase “hors de combat” means “out of combat” and refers to people incapable of performing their combat duties.)
Allegations of war crimes — including rapes, torture, and executions — have been reported against both Russians and Ukrainians since Russia’s unprovoked invasion in February, though Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, told Reuters the mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners by Russians appears “fairly systematic” while it is “not systematic” for Ukraine to mistreat Russian soldiers.
Representatives of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert is a reporter on the breaking news team covering business and labor stories, as well as tech and data privacy issues, politics, law enforcement and criminal justice. This first appeared in Insider here.