Videos Suggest Captive Russian Soldiers Were Killed at Close Range

A series of videos surfaced on social media last week that has sparked a debate over the killing of Russian soldiers. There are questions 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 the videos, at least 11 Russians 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 show a rare look into one gruesome moment among many in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.  The videos do not show how or why the Russian soldiers were killed. 

The videos were first circulated by Ukrainian news and social media channels that used them to show the force’s military prowess, as well as how they were successfully retaking territory lost to Russia earlier in the invasion. 

But in Russia, the videos prompted a fierce response among pro-war commentators, who urged the government to seek an international investigation.

Both Russia and Ukraine have now accused the other of committing war crimes in the same episode. Russians have accused Ukraine’s forces of “mercilessly shooting unarmed Russian P.O.W.s”.

Ukraine’s commissioner for human rights, Dmytro Lubinets, said Russian soldiers had opened fire during the act of surrendering.

While both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of war crimes, the number and scale of reported Russian crimes far exceed those that Ukraine has been accused of. 

The United Nations has said the episode should be investigated. Marta Hurtado, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Human Rights Office, said the United Nations was both aware of the videos and looking into them. 

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