Russia accuses Ukraine of killing POWs after footage emerges on social media

Russia has accused Ukrainian forces of killing more than 10 prisoners of war after a video purportedly from the front lines surfaced on social media.

Moscow said the video showed Russian soldiers being told to lie face down on the ground in Makiivka, in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region, after surrendering to gunmen with yellow bands on their arms.

Shots ring out and about 12 bodies can be seen.

The video has not yet been verified and it is not known when the video was shot.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the video showed “the deliberate and systematic murder of more than 10 immobilized Russian soldiers by degenerate Ukrainian soldiers.”

It added that the video was a sign of the “cruel nature” of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his government in Kyiv, and said he would “answer in the court of history and the people of Russia and Ukraine.”

“This brutal murder of Russian soldiers is neither the first nor the only war crime,” the ministry said.

“This is a common practice in Ukraine’s armed forces, actively supported by the Kiev regime and blatantly ignored by its Western backers.”

There was no immediate response from Kyiv, which said it would investigate any alleged abuse by its forces. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of war crimes, which Moscow denies.

The Russian investigative committee, which investigates serious crimes, later said it had opened a criminal case into the killing of “at least 11 unarmed Russian soldiers”.

Investigators are working to identify the people who filmed the video, it said.

In a statement to Reuters, Marta Hurtado, a representative at the UN Human Rights Office, said: “We are aware of the videos and are investigating them.

“Allegations of summary executions of people incapacitated must be promptly, fully and effectively investigated and all perpetrators held accountable.”

This week the UN said it had spoken to Ukrainian prisoners of war who had been captured by the Russians and who had reported torture and ill-treatment. It also documented cases of ill-treatment of Russian prisoners of war in Ukrainian facilities.

Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, said the mistreatment of Ukrainian prisoners by Russians was “quite systematic” while it was “not systematic” for Ukraine to mistreat Russian soldiers.

Meanwhile, Russian missile strikes have crippled nearly half of Ukraine’s power system, the government said, and authorities in the capital Kyiv said the city could face a “complete shutdown” of the power grid as winter sets in.

Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, managing director of Ukrenergo, told Ukrainian state TV: “We have to prepare for possible long outages, but at the moment we are introducing planned schedules and we will do everything to ensure that the outages are not very long.”

Russian forces continued their attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure, with another seven missiles hitting Zaporizhia in the southeast on Friday night, exposing thousands to heat.

More than 1,000 missiles and drones have struck energy targets since Russia’s invasion in February, the government said. Most of the hits have come since the beginning of October. Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, has been going through long spells without electricity.

About 1.5 to two million people, half the city’s population, are regularly plunged into darkness when authorities switch power from one district to another, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Updated 19 Nov 2022 1:38pm