Videos Suggest Captive Russian Soldiers Were Killed at Close Range


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The New York Times | World

A series of videos that surfaced on social media last week has ignited a debate over whether Ukrainian forces committed war crimes or acted in self-defense as they tried to capture a group of Russian soldiers who were then killed.

The videos show the grisly before-and-after scenes of the encounter earlier this month, in which at least 11 Russians, most of whom are seen lying on the ground, appear to have been shot dead at close range after one of their fellow fighters suddenly opened fire on Ukrainian soldiers standing nearby.

The videos, detailed below and whose authenticity has been verified by The New York Times, offer a rare look into one gruesome moment among many in the war, but do not show how or why the Russian soldiers were killed. Ultimately, they leave a mystery that has been used by both sides in the online battle for hearts and minds.

The videos were first circulated by Ukrainian news and social media channels that used them to laud the military prowess of their armed forces and publicize their heroic retaking of territory lost to Russia early in the war. In Russia, however, the videos prompted a fierce response among hawkish pro-war commentators, who urged the government to seek an international investigation.

Now, Moscow and Kyiv has each accused the other of committing war crimes in the same episode — the Russians accusing Ukraine’s forces of “mercilessly shooting unarmed Russian P.O.W.s,” and Ukraine’s commissioner for human rights, Dmytro Lubinets, saying Russian soldiers had opened fire during the act of surrendering.

Read more – The New York Times | World

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