Ukraine’s Prosecutor General has opened an investigation into two cases of Russian troops shooting Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) in Avdiivka and the village of Vesele, both in the Donetsk region.

“The killing of prisoners of war is a gross violation of the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War and a serious international crime,” read a statement from the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) directorate in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions is conducting the pre-trial investigation.

Execution of prisoners in Avdiivka

According to the investigation, on Feb. 18, a message was published on one of the Telegram channels reporting the shooting of six captured defenders of the mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) at a position in the city.

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Media reports suggest that the incident occurred at the Zenit defense complex in the southeast of the city, which the Russians captured on Feb. 15.

A video released via Russian Telegram channels showed the six fighters in uniforms of the AFU, one of whom had a bandaged head, being summarily executed. Kyiv Post could not independently verify the time and location of the footage.

“The defenders were seriously injured, unable to move on their own, and awaiting evacuation,” the General Prosecutor’s statement said.

The Ukrainian media outlet Slidstvo.Info reported that relatives of several soldiers recognized them in the released video.

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One of the soldiers killed, Ivan Zhytnyk, known by his call sign Django, was identified in the video by his sister Kateryna. Django had served in Avdiivka for two years as part of the 110th mechanized brigade of the AFU and had informed his sister of his injuries during a telephone conversation.

Django recounted that four other wounded soldiers from the brigade were with him, and one uninjured soldier chose to remain with his comrades in the mine.

“My brother said that the command agreed to let the Russians take them away because our [forces] couldn’t reach them,” Kateryna said.

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In the footage, Kateryna recognized her brother’s body by his clothing and the water bottle he held as the Russians escorted the prisoners out of the mine. Django had been speaking to his relatives via video link when the Russian military entered their makeshift hospital in the mine.

One of the dead soldiers had a cross-shaped tattoo on his arm. Viktor Bilyak, a fighter of the 110th brigade, identified him as Andriy Dubnytsky, known as Bayraktar. Dubnytsky’s wife, Lyudmila, also recognized him in the video by his tattoo.

According to his wife, Dubnytsky had been called up for service on March 8, 2022, and had been fighting in Avdiivka as part of the 110th brigade ever since.

Additionally, Hrihory Pavlov, known as Panda, was recognized in the video by his mother. Pavlov, a military-contract worker, had been serving since 2015. He was stationed in Mariupol in 2017 before being transferred to the 110th brigade. In his final year of service, Pavlov was positioned at the Zenit complex.

Pavlov’s mother stated that Ukrainian military personnel had been waiting three days for evacuation.

Ukrainian POWs shot near Vesele

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As reported by the Prosecutor General’s Office, a video recording depicting the murder of two Ukrainian soldiers near the village of Vesele in the Bakhmut district was discovered during media monitoring.

The Ukrainian Ground Forces released the corresponding footage, indicating that the execution occurred on the morning of Feb. 18.

“In the zone of responsibility of the operational and strategic grouping of the troops of Khortytsia, the Russians once again demonstrated their disregard for international humanitarian law by shooting two Ukrainian prisoners of war,” the caption accompanying the video stated.

WARNING! The video may be disturbing; you can view it at the provided link. Kyiv Post could not independently verify the time and location of the video's recording.

Drone footage shows two Ukrainian soldiers walking through a trench towards the Russians, armed with assault rifles and white bandages on their hands.

The drone camera captured the moment “during the assault on our positions, a representative of the Russian Armed Forces fired at close range, first at one captured armed forces serviceman, and then at the second,” the prosecutor’s office reported.

“Seeking to eliminate any chance of the prisoners’ survival, the occupier intentionally killed them with automatic weapons,” the statement concluded.

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This case adds to a series of previous incidents captured on video in which Russian troops are seen shooting Ukrainian soldiers who have surrendered.

At the end of last year, reports emerged of Russian soldiers shooting Ukrainian POWs near the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region. On Dec. 27, a video surfaced on Ukrainian social media allegedly showing Russian military personnel shooting captured Ukrainian soldiers.

The video, made by Stanislav Bunyatov, a fighter from the AFU’s 24th Separate Assault Battalion “Aidar,” claimed that the shooting involved soldiers from the AFU’s 117th Separate Mechanized Brigade.”

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Comments ( 1)

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John
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

...and as a non directly impacted foreigner to Ukraine, I grow angrier and angrier at russia each day. A normally peaceful person, I am past wanting to see a horrific end to the Kremlin instigators of this war. And a few convictions at The Hague won't satisfy. I'm well in the 'eye for an eye' territory.

I'm now also properly warmed up to seeing the extermination of all putin's deviant pions infestation in Ukraine. Particularly those conducting such vile acts. I also want any other willing conscripts of russia's foreign violation to remain Ukraine's serf on chain gangs if necessary to pay penance as they rebuild the damage they wrought in Ukraine. They could have fled conscription, gone awol or changes sides as the evil of their leadership became apparent (i.e. day one in Ukraine). Instead the volunteered and remained in putins service.

I growingly also question why the common russian people themselves continue in inaction to support their psychopathic leader. There are so many ways they could even safely undermine his evil pursuits. I question what useful role even this 'do nothing' lot, could have in an evolving world where we need to work in unison to address global threats. Do they even want a useful role in a future peaceful world, or do they only understand and accept crime, bullying and murder?

Russian citizens who think stopping this war is not their concern had better wake up quickly.

Am I alone in such thoughts?

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