NewsHRW uncovers an alarming pattern of executions by Russian troops

HRW uncovers an alarming pattern of executions by Russian troops

Since December 2023, the Russians have executed at least 15 Ukrainian soldiers trying to surrender.
Since December 2023, the Russians have executed at least 15 Ukrainian soldiers trying to surrender.
Images source: © Telegram

9:06 AM EDT, May 2, 2024

The international human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported that since December 2023, there have been instances where Russian troops executed at least 15 Ukrainian soldiers who were trying to surrender. Orders such as "Take no prisoners, shoot everyone" have been captured in recordings analyzed by HRW.

HRW conducted investigations into three incidents involving the mass execution of at least 12 Ukrainian soldiers, leveraging drone footage published on social media on December 2 and 27, 2023, and February 25, 2024, for verification and analysis. In these situations, the soldiers were attempting to surrender. They were no longer engaged in combat, making them protected persons under international humanitarian law and the laws of war, and thus, they should not have been targeted.

Further investigation led to verifying a fourth case, as evident from another video made public on social media on February 19. This footage showed two Russian soldiers firing at three unarmed Ukrainian soldiers who had surrendered. Although the video's uploader mentioned the event's location, HRW could not independently confirm this.

A fifth investigation focused on an interview with a Ukrainian soldier, alongside video footage shared on Telegram on February 16 and media reports, including interviews with family members of one of the deceased. This suggested that six soldiers were executed in this incident.

One of the reviewed incidents, recorded on February 25, featured verified drone video footage showing at least seven Ukrainian soldiers stepping out from a trench situated between two fields among trees. They were seen removing their bulletproof vests, and one also removed his helmet. They all lay face down, and five Russian soldiers, identifiable by the red bands on their limbs, targeted them with machine guns.

Three of the Russian soldiers began shooting at the unarmed Ukrainian soldiers from behind and from both sides. Of the Ukrainian soldiers, six remained lying face down, reacting to the gunfire, and one attempted to crawl back to the trench but was shot before he could reach it. This event occurred near the village of Ivanov in the Donetsk region, with the location first identified by EjShahid, a GeoConfirmed volunteer, and later verified by HRW researchers.

HRW highlighted that these alleged executions appear to be part of a pattern rather than isolated incidents.

Additionally, HRW researchers found a video from a Russian drone dated February 5, 2024. This video captured a battle scene, but it was unclear if the Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered. In this recording, a voice can be heard commanding Russian soldiers in Russian to "Take no prisoners, shoot everyone" during the battle in the Donetsk region.

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