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Ukraine’s PG office probes 27 cases of 54 POW executions by Russians since 2022

Ukraine is aware of 54 executed Ukrainian POWs by Russian forces since 2022, with 27 criminal cases initiated for war crimes.
Russians execute Ukrainian POWs
Screenshot of alleged Russian execution of surrendering Ukrainian soldiers
Ukraine’s PG office probes 27 cases of 54 POW executions by Russians since 2022

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine is aware of 54 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) executed by Russian forces.

According to Yurii Belousov, head of the Department for Countering Crimes Committed in Armed Conflict Conditions, 27 criminal proceedings have been initiated for these war crimes.

The office has documented executions of Ukrainian POWs starting since March 2022, with the first verdict already issued for a Russian soldier who executed a Ukrainian POW in Chernihiv Oblast, and there were similar cases in Kharkiv Oblast, Belousov said on Suspilne on 9 April.

Investigations are complicated by the fact that prosecutors and investigators usually do not have access to the crime scene or the opportunity to examine the body as the sites are often in the active war zone or in the occupied territories.

Gruesome video allegedly shows Ukrainian soldiers executed by Russians after surrendering

Commenting on a video showing the execution of three unarmed Ukrainian soldiers, posted on social media on 7 April, the head of the Department noted that it has been preliminarily confirmed that the crime took place near Krynky Village in Kherson Oblast, but the details are still being clarified:

According to this fact and the previous ones, we are also working on the commanders responsible for such actions. We are talking not only about unit commanders but also about the highest military and political leadership. Because this is not an isolated case, but evidence of Russian policy,” Yuri Belousov noted.

On the day, the video started circulating on social media, Ukraine’s Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said he had appealed to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross over the case of the execution of Ukrainian prisoners of war by the Russian occupiers.

Ukrainian man climbs out of grave after being shot by Russian invaders

A UN OHCHR report published in March covering December 2023 to February 2024 documents the summary executions of dozens of Ukrainian POWs by Russian troops, with 12 cases involving at least 32 POWs recorded, including a war crime in Zaporizhzhia Oblast where three Ukrainian soldiers were executed, two immediately upon surrendering and the third after being forced to conduct demining work.

Multiple cases of execution of Ukrainian POWs were exposed when Russian soldiers or military bloggers boasted of their actions by publishing footage of the executions on Telegram messenger, or when Ukrainian drones captured these war crimes.

  • In March 2023, a video emerged on social media showing Russian forces executing Ukrainian POW Oleksandr Matsievskyi after he said, “Glory to Ukraine!”
  • On 3 December 2023, a video showing Russian soldiers executing two surrendering Ukrainian troops near Stepove village, Avdiivka, surfaced online, prompting Ukraine’s ombudsman to consider appealing to the UN and Red Cross.
  • On 17 December, a Russian Telegram channel published a video showed Russian forces executing six Ukrainian soldiers, including identified defenders Heorhii Pavlov, Andrii Dubnytskyi, Ivan Zhytnyk, Oleksandr Zinchuk, and Mykola Savosik, at the Zenit plant near Donetsk’s Avdiivka reportedly despite promises of evacuation and prisoner exchange, as confirmed by Ukraine’s 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade. The ombudsman also sent a letter to the UN and the ICRC case like all other similar cases.
  • On 27 December 2023, footage surfaced on social media showing Russian forces forcing three Ukrainian soldiers to kneel and shooting them from a distance of several meters in the southern direction near Robotyne, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • On 9 February 2024, the Prosecutor’s Office reported that the occupiers had executed two Ukrainian prisoners of war near Donetsk Oblast’s Bakhmut.
  • On 18 February, a Telegram channel posted about the execution of six captured soldiers of a mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at a position in Avdiivka.
  • On the same day, a video showing the killing of two more Ukrainian soldiers near the village of Vesele, Bakhmut district, was discovered, prompting the Prosecutor General’s Office to launch an investigation.
  • On 25 February, Ukraine’s ombudsman released footage showing Russian troops shooting at least seven Ukrainian soldiers who were trying to surrender.
  • On 7 April, a video emerged on social media showing the execution of three unarmed Ukrainian POWs in Krynky, Kherson Oblast.

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