By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Ukraine’s military has decried the apparent killing of two surrendering Ukrainian troops by Russian forces and said it considers the incident evidence of a war crime.
Drone footage of the incident that appeared on social media on December 2 showed apparently unarmed Ukrainian soldiers leaving their shelter, lying on the ground, and then being shot by people in darker uniforms.
The alleged execution reportedly took place near the village of Stepove, which is located a few kilometers from the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiyivka where heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces is taking place.
RFE/RL was unable to independently confirm the authenticity of the video or the date or location of the apparent killings.
On December 2, Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun said on Telegram that the drone footage “published in the media depicts the killing of two Ukrainian prisoners of war.”
“All evidence will be handed over to the responsible international institutions dealing with war crimes,” Shtupun said.
Ukrainian Human Rights Commission Dmytro Lubinets wrote on Telegram on December 2 that the video showed that the Ukrainian soldiers were disarmed with their hands raised and that they clearly posed no threat.
“The execution of those who surrender is a war crime,” Lubinets wrote.
Lubinets said he will report the incident to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations.
“The Russian Federation must be punished for every such case of the execution of Ukrainian soldiers who surrender,” Lubinets said, adding that the alleged incident was not the first in which Ukrainian prisoners of war had been killed by Russian forces.
Russia has widely been accused of committing war crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine, including the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, the use of cluster munitions, and the torture of Ukrainian prisoners of war.
Russia has denied committing war crimes in Ukraine.