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Ukraine Vows to Find Killers of Unarmed Ukrainian Soldier

Alleged executio of Ukrainian soldier
A video has emerged on social media appearing to show the execution of a Ukrainian soldier. Credit: Anton Gerashchenko / Twitter

A video has emerged online which appears to show the execution of an unarmed Ukrainian soldier who was taken as a prisoner of war (POW) by Russian forces.

The video shows the serviceman smoking a cigarette before being gunned down and killed in a small ditch in the woods. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Monday to find those responsible.

Footage from the war has been circulating online extensively since the conflict began in February last year. Some of the video footage, often filmed on mobile phones or helmet-mounted cameras, depicts war crimes, of which both sides have accused each other.

Video appears to show execution of Ukrainian soldier

The video first began to circulate on social media on Monday. The footage shows what appears to be a Ukrainian POW – based on his uniform – smoking a last cigarette and saying “Slava Ukraini!” (“Glory to Ukraine”) before he is killed in a burst of automatic gunfire.

The person or persons responsible cannot be seen in the video but one of the perpetrators can be heard saying “die” and cursing after the POW is shot. The individuals responsible are believed to be Russian soldiers although the origin of the video has not been verified.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian 30th Separate Mechanized Brigade released a statement on Telegram identifying the executed prisoner as one of their personnel, Tymofiy Mykolayovych Shadura.

“Timofiy Shadura has been listed as missing since February 3, 2023, amid hostilities in the Bakhmut area,” the statement on Telegram said.

“Currently, the body of our serviceman is in the temporarily occupied territory. The final confirmation of the person will be established after the return of the body and the relevant examinations,” it continued.

The 30th Separate Mechanized Brigade “expressed its sincere condolences to his relatives and friends,” before adding, “Revenge will be inevitable.”

Ukrainian response

“We will find the murderers,” insisted President Zelensky, late on Monday.

Zelensky raised the execution in a video address, saying “the occupiers” killed “a warrior who bravely said to their faces: ‘Glory to Ukraine!'”

“I want us all to respond to his words together, in unity: ‘Glory to the Hero! Glory to the Heroes! Glory to Ukraine!'” he continued.

Other senior officials have also responded to the alleged execution of the Ukrainian POW. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter that the video was “another proof this war is genocidal”, and called for an “immediate investigation” by the International Criminal Court.

Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets also commented on Twitter, saying “Terrible example of how the aggressor tries to stop the war by killing our captured soldier for a patriotic Ukrainian slogan! Meanness and villainy! Once again, they violate Geneva Conventions. They will not evade responsibility for their atrocities.”

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