Video on social media showing Russian troops executing a Ukrainian soldier is the latest evidence that “this war is genocidal,” Ukraine’s foreign minister says.
Ukraine has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate horrific images circulating on social media showing Russian troops killing a Ukrainian prisoner of war with a series of assault weapon detonations.
The amateur video apparently shows a captured soldier standing in a shallow trench, wearing camouflage and smoking a cigarette. The man said “Slava Ukraini!” – or Glory to Ukraine – before several shots are heard.
The victim sinks to the ground as bullets from automatic weapons repeatedly hit his body. A voice in Russian says: “Die bi*ch”.
“Horrifying video of an unarmed Ukrainian prisoner of war being executed by Russian troops just for saying ‘Glory to Ukraine’. Another (piece of) evidence that this war is genocidal,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on social media on Monday.
Kuleba said it was “necessary” that Prosecutor Karim Khan “immediately launch an ICC investigation into this heinous war crime”.
“Perpetrators must be brought to justice,” he added.
Separately, the State Department said in a tweet: “Killing prisoners of war is a war crime. Those responsible for such crimes will be punished.”
Authenticity, date or location of the video, which is of poor quality, could not be immediately verified. The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment.
Horrifying video of an unarmed Ukrainian POW being executed by Russian troops just for saying “Glory to Ukraine”. Another proof that this war is genocidal. It is absolutely necessary that @KarimKhanQC immediately launch an ICC investigation into this heinous war crime. Perpetrators must be brought to justice.
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 6, 2023
The phrase “Glory to Ukraine” and the answer “Heroyam Slava”, or “Glory to the heroes”, has been a hallmark of post-Soviet Ukraine. But since the start of the Russian invasion a year ago, it has taken on special significance as a common greeting in public life. It has also served to rally international support for Ukraine.
#Glory to Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the video shows the Russian occupiers “brutally killing a warrior”.
He added in his evening speech on Monday: “I want us all to respond in unity to his words: ‘Glory to the hero. Glory to the heroes. Glory to Ukraine.’ And we will find the killers. Ukraine will not forget the achievement of everyone whose life has given Ukraine freedom forever.”
Within hours of the video being released, #GloryToUkraine became one of the most trending hashtags on Twitter.
Andriy Kostin, the prosecutor of Ukraine, said on Telegram that the Ukrainian security service registered the shooting as a criminal case under the penal code that covers violations of war laws and customs.
“Even war has its own laws,” he said, while prosecutors from his office would lead the case. “There are rules of international law that are systematically ignored by the Russian criminal regime. But sooner or later there will be a punishment.”
Today Ukrainians were startled by another case of Russian violence. Russian invaders killed a Ukrainian POW simply because he uttered the words “Glory to Ukraine/Slava Ukraini”.
Killing prisoners of war is a war crime. Those responsible for such crimes will be punished
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) March 6, 2023
Ukraine’s presidential office head Andriy Yermak said the man was a Ukrainian prisoner of war and that the killing was part of Russia’s “deliberate terror policy”.
Ukrainian and Western authorities say there is evidence of thousands of war crimes committed in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022. Russia has repeatedly denied that its forces committed atrocities or attacked civilians.
Evidence has also emerged of Ukrainian troops committing war crimes during the conflict, including executing soldiers who surrendered.