At least 15 Ukrainian soldiers attempting to surrender were executed by Russians since December - HRW

Ukrainian soldiers (illustrative photo)
Ukrainian soldiers (illustrative photo)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on May 2 that Russian forces have executed at least 15 Ukrainian soldiers who were attempting to surrender, with another six possible incidents under investigation, since early December 2023.

These allegations, highlighted in incidents captured on drone footage and shared on social media, are being urged by HRW to be investigated as war crimes.

The evidence includes three separate events where at least 12 Ukrainian soldiers were apparently executed, shown in videos posted on Dec.2, Dec. 27, and Feb. 25. These soldiers displayed clear intentions to surrender, which under international humanitarian law, renders them hors de combat and not lawful military targets.

Two of these incidents' locations were verified through video analysis, while the third's location remains unconfirmed due to insufficient geographic details. Another disturbing incident shared on Feb.19 shows two Russian soldiers executing three unarmed, surrendering Ukrainian troops, although the location could not be independently confirmed by HRW.

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Further evidence comes from a report on Feb. 25, with verified drone footage depicting seven Ukrainian soldiers exiting a dugout and laying down in a surrender pose, only to be shot by Russian soldiers identified by red tape markings on their uniforms. This took place near Ivanivske, Donetsk Oblast, with the location verified by independent volunteers and HRW researchers.

HRW’s report also references an audio clip from Feb. 5, wherein a voice allegedly commands Russian soldiers in Donetsk Oblast to "take no prisoners, shoot everyone," though it remains unconfirmed if any soldiers surrendered in this particular incident.

he Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has corroborated such reports, documenting the execution of at least 32 Ukrainian prisoners of war from Dec. 1, 2023, to Feb. 29, 2024. Additionally, the DeepState online war tracking map recorded the execution of six Ukrainian soldiers in Avdiivka after they were left behind during a military withdrawal on Feb. 18.

Ukrainian authorities, including the Prosecutor General’s Office, have initiated investigations into these allegations, including incidents in Vesele and Robotyne, Donetsk Oblast, and near Bakhmut, where another nine unarmed servicemen were reportedly executed on Feb. 25.

Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin confirmed that Ukrainian law enforcement is actively investigating 18 criminal cases related to the killings of 38 Ukrainian prisoners of war by Russian forces. These ongoing investigations aim to bring justice to the victims and hold the perpetrators accountable under international law.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine