Video on social media apparently showing Russian troops executing a Ukrainian soldier is the latest proof ‘this war is genocidal’, Ukraine’s foreign minister says.
Ukraine has demanded the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate grisly footage circulating on social media allegedly showing Russian forces killing a Ukrainian prisoner of war with a series of blasts from assault weapons.
The amateur video apparently depicts a detained soldier standing in a shallow trench, wearing camouflage, and smoking a cigarette. The man said “Slava Ukraini!” – or Glory to Ukraine – before multiple shots are heard.
The victim slumps to the ground as rounds from automatic weapons repeatedly hit his body. A voice in Russian is heard saying, “Die bi*ch”.
“Horrific video of an unarmed Ukrainian POW executed by Russian forces merely for saying ‘Glory to Ukraine’. Another [piece of] proof this war is genocidal,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on social media on Monday.
Kuleba said it was “imperative” that Prosecutor Karim Khan “launches an immediate ICC investigation into this heinous war crime”.
“Perpetrators must face justice,” he added.
Separately, the foreign ministry said in a tweet: “Killing prisoners of war is a war crime. Those responsible for such crimes will face punishment.”
Authenticity, date or location of the video, which is of poor quality, could not immediately be verified. Russia’s defence ministry did not comment.
Horrific video of an unarmed Ukrainian POW executed by Russian forces merely for saying “Glory to Ukraine”. Another proof this war is genocidal. It is imperative that @KarimKhanQC launches an immediate ICC investigation into this heinous war crime. Perpetrators must face justice.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 6, 2023
The “Glory to Ukraine” phrase and the response “Heroyam Slava”, or “Glory to the Heroes”, has been a hallmark of post-Soviet Ukraine. But it has taken on special significance as a common greeting in public life since the start of the Russian invasion a year ago. It has also served to rally international support for Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the video showed Russian occupiers “brutally killing a warrior”.
He added in his evening address on Monday: “I want us all in unity to respond to his words, ‘Glory to the hero. Glory to the heroes. Glory to Ukraine.’ And we will find the murderers. Ukraine will not forget the feat of each and everyone whose lives gave freedom to Ukraine forever.”
Within hours of the video’s emergence, #GloryToUkraine became one of the top trending hashtags on Twitter.
Andriy Kostin, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, said on Telegram that Ukraine’s security service registered the shooting as a criminal case under its criminal code that covers violations of war laws and customs.
“Even the war has its own laws,” he said, adding prosecutors from his office would lead the case. “There are rules of international law systematically ignored by the Russian criminal regime. But sooner or later, there will be punishment.”
Today, Ukrainians were shaken by another case of Russian brutality. Russian invaders killed a Ukrainian prisoner of war simply for uttering the words “Glory to Ukraine/Slava Ukraini”.
Killing prisoners of war is a war crime. Those responsible for such crimes will face punishment
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) March 6, 2023
The head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said the man was a Ukrainian prisoner of war and the killing was part of a “deliberate policy of terror” by Russia.
Ukrainian and Western authorities say there is evidence of thousands of war crimes committed in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022. Russia has repeatedly denied its forces have committed atrocities or attacked civilians.
Evidence of Ukrainian forces committing war crimes during the conflict, including executing surrendering soldiers, has also surfaced.