The US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, Beth Van Schaack, said on Monday that the United States was monitoring allegations of Kyiv forces summarily executing Russian servicemen after Moscow accused Ukraine forces of executing unarmed Russian POWs.
Stressing that the laws of war apply to all parties equally, Van Schaack added that both the aggressor state and the defender state must abide by international law or face the consequences.
Washington’s envoy for war crimes, however, kind of downplayed the Ukrainian acts saying that compared to the allegations against Ukrainian troops, the scale of criminality the Russian forces exhibited was enormous.
Van Schaack also said that when allegations of atrocities surface, the two sides responded differently.
She noted that whereas Kyiv officials have dealt with allegations of wrongdoing more responsibly, generally acknowledging abuses, denouncing them, and pledging to investigate them, Moscow always responds to accusations with denial, propaganda, and disinformation.
Just how inaccurate that description shows the several examples from recent months that are proving the opposite.
First, Ukraine denied that its forces executed Russian POWs with the commissioner for human rights Dmytro Lubinets arguing that the videos (which show confirmed executions) appear to show staged capture.
The videos show the grisly before-and-after scenes of the encounter earlier this month.
The videos, which the New York Times confirmed were authentic, showed Russian soldiers lying on the ground after apparently surrendering and, following automatic gunfire, it shows around 12 bodies.
Last week, Ukraine’s president Zelensky repeatedly denied that it was a Ukrainian missile that had killed two people in Poland and stood by his false claims – which could have triggered World War III- even after NATO agreed to that fact.
Zelensky also denied his government’s involvement in other atrocities, such as the journalist Darya Dugina’s assassination in Moscow– which US intelligence has attributed to Kyiv.