Kiev says Russian forces shot surrendering Ukrainian soldiers. If confirmed it would be a war crime

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian officials on Sunday accused Russian forces of killing surrendered Ukrainian soldiers, which is a war crime if confirmed, after grainy footage on social media showed two uniformed men being shot from a dugout. After leaving, the shot is shown at close range.

The video shows the soldiers, one of them with his hands up, pass out at gunpoint and lie on the ground before being fired upon by a group of Russian soldiers. It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the video or the circumstances under which it was taken.

The Ukrainian General Prosecutor's Office launched a criminal investigation on Sunday, hours after the Ukrainian military's press office said in an online statement that the footage was genuine.

"The video shows a group in Russian uniforms shooting at point-blank range two unarmed soldiers in Ukrainian Armed Forces uniforms who were surrendering," the prosecutor's office said in a Telegram update on Sunday.

Kiev, its Western allies and international human rights organizations have repeatedly accused Moscow of violating international humanitarian law full scale attack of Ukraine in February 2022. The Kremlin denies these allegations.

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The video first appeared Saturday on DeepState, a popular Ukrainian Telegram channel covering the war. The post claims the footage comes from the front line near Avdiivka, a Ukrainian-held region in the eastern part of the country where fierce fighting has taken place in recent weeks.

The General Prosecutor's Office said on Sunday that the incident occurred in the Pokrovsk district, which includes Avdiivka and surrounding areas.

"It is clear from the video that Ukrainian soldiers are taking the necessary steps that show they are surrendering," Ukraine's human rights chief Dmytro Lubinets said Saturday, hours after the footage emerged.

In a statement posted on Telegram, Lubinets called the incident "another vivid example of Russia's violation of international humanitarian law."

Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military group fighting near Avdiivka, was quoted by Ukrainian media as saying the video was a "clear confirmation" of Moscow's disregard for the laws of war.

in March, footage of a man The man chanting "Glory to Ukraine" before being shot down in a wooded area sparked national outrage in Ukraine as senior officials alleged he was an unarmed prisoner of war killed by Russian troops.

Last summer, Kiev and Moscow also shared blame for shelling attack on prison Dozens of Ukrainian POWs were killed in occupied eastern Ukraine. Both sides claimed that the attack on the facility at Olenivka was intended to cover up atrocities, with Ukrainian officials alleging that captive soldiers had been tortured and executed.

The UN human rights chief in July rejected Moscow's claim that a rocket attack had caused the explosion.

Also on Sunday, Ukraine's Energy Ministry reported that about 1,000 towns and villages lost power that day, with hundreds of settlements in the west affected by winter weather and others affected by ongoing fighting.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, assessed late Saturday that bad weather had slowed military operations on the front lines in Ukraine, trapping tracked vehicles in mud and making it difficult for light equipment to move. Getting more infantry to advance.

Kozlowska reported from London.

Copyright 2023 The associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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