Following the repatriation of 130 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) on April 16, Dmytro Lubinets, Ukrainian lawmaker and Commissioner for Human Rights, said in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda that 86 percent of the Ukrainian soldiers who come back from Russian captivity have been subjected to direct physical torture.

Lubinets also said that over the last nine months his office has received “dozens of videos” of public executions of Ukrainian military personnel by Russian soldiers.

“We are opening our own proceedings for each released serviceman and we are recording facts that once again confirm the inhuman treatment of prisoners of war,” Lubinets told Ukrainska Pravda.

“Regarding torture, according to our information, 86 percent of those who came back from captivity reported direct physical torture. This, by the way, was established not only by us, but also by the international human rights mission of the United Nations. They have approximately the same numbers,” Lubinets said.

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However, the Commissioner would not specify what kind of torture was involved, according to Ukrainska Pravda. Lubinets stated this is due to the fact that when Ukrainian high-ranking officials publicly voice such facts “the Russians begin to treat our prisoners of war even more cruelly.”

In terms of execution videos, such as the one was posted on April 11 on Russian Telegram channels showing Russian soldiers brutally beheading a Ukrainian prisoner of war, Lubinets outlined some of their brutal details to Ukrainska Pravda.

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“There are [instances of] beheadings, cutting off genitals, ears, nose, limbs or phalanges on the hands. Some [of the Russian soldiers who carried out these executions] have been identified. And I know that one person was punished. He died during a combat engagement with Ukrainian troops,” Lubinets said.

Lubinets also told Ukrainska Pravda that Russia publicly distributes videos of executions of Ukrainian soldiers for at least three reasons:

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1.   to “maintain the degree of anti-Ukrainian hysteria” within Russian society;

2.   to convince its own soldiers not to surrender to the Armed Forces of Ukraine because “they will kill you like this if you decide to surrender,” and;

3.   to intimidate the Ukrainian military, which is preparing for a counteroffensive.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has called on the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to pay attention to the video, while the European Commission has emphasized that, if the video is proved to be real, it once again shows the Russian Federation’s contempt for international law.

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