Ukraine regiment says captured soldiers from airborne unit were shot dead by Russians

Prosecutors allege war crimes after video seems to show three unarmed men being killed

Ukrainian servicemen kneel during the funeral ceremony of killed comrades Vasyl Medviychuk and Dmytro Dosiak in Verkhovyna, on December 28. AP
Powered by automated translation

A Ukrainian regiment said on Thursday that three servicemen, who prosecutors allege were captured and shot dead by Russian troops this month, belonged to Ukraine's 82nd Airborne Assault Brigade.

The Airborne Assault Troops Brigade accused unidentified enemy forces of deliberately killing the three men, in what they claim is a clear breach of the laws and customs of war.

Moscow has not yet responded to this accusation, which is the second time this month Ukrainian prosecutors have charged Russia with the killing of prisoners of war.

A video circulating on social media, purportedly of the incident, seems to depict three unarmed people collapsing after being shot.

Officials said that the bodies were retrieved by Ukrainian forces from near Robotyne village in the south-eastern Zaporizhzhia region.

In a shared video of the incident, the Airborne Assault Troops highlighted three men with Ukrainian flags and put Russian flags next to figures either standing or crouching at two distinct sites behind the Ukrainians.

The video shows the three men on their knees with hands behind their heads.

At least two figures, marked with Russian flags, are seen raising weapons and firing towards the Ukrainians.

After the shots, the three men fall forward. The video then shows a figure, identified as a Russian soldier, approaching and checking the fallen men.

“This represents yet another egregious violation of international humanitarian law in the treatment of prisoners of war by the aggressor country,” said the prosecutor's office when announcing its investigation on Wednesday.

Earlier on December 3, Ukraine accused Russia of a war crime after another video emerged showing several soldiers shooting two surrendering personnel emerging from a dugout.

In a notable incident last March, a video captured the execution of a captured Ukrainian soldier after he declared “Glory to Ukraine”, a phrase emblematic of Ukrainian resistance since the war's onset.

Ukraine's Zelenskyy Discusses Peace Formula with Pope

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy revealed on Thursday that he had a discussion with Pope Francis about Ukraine's proposed peace formula.

Mr Zelenskyy mentioned in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, about the collaboration to implement Ukraine's Peace Formula.

He said more than 80 countries are participating at the representative level, with expectations of further involvement.

He expressed his gratitude towards the Pope for his Christmas greetings and his wishes for a just peace for Ukraine.

Mr Zelenskyy said the peace formula discussions will continue in Davos, Switzerland, though the exact date remains unannounced.

In his peace advocacy for Ukraine, Pope Francis has sent Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, a special envoy, to Kyiv, Moscow, Washington and Beijing.

In his Christmas Day address, the Pope urged for an end to various conflicts, including the one in Ukraine.

In November, he repeated his calls for peace in Ukraine and the Middle East, emphasising the possibility of peace and opposing resignation to the continuing violence.

Back in October, Mr Zelenskyy invited the Pope to visit Kyiv, and the two had a private meeting at the Vatican in May.

Updated: December 29, 2023, 5:34 AM