The United Nations accuses Ukraine and Russia of extra judicially executing prisoners of war during the fighting in the war


The United Nations accused Ukrainian and Russian forces of carrying out dozens of extrajudicial executions of prisoners of war during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Friday, the head of the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, expressed great concern regarding the execution of 25 Russian prisoners of war at the hands of the Ukrainian armed forces, as well as the execution of 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war at the hands of the Russians.

Bogner confirmed that the United Nations documented these executions of Russians, which were carried out by Ukrainian forces, most often immediately after their capture on the battlefield.

She added that the United Nations is aware of five investigations conducted by Kiev related to 22 victims, but “we haven’t been informed of any prosecution of the perpetrators of these crimes”.

As for the Russian armed forces’ execution of 15 Ukrainian prisoners of war soon after their arrest, the official said that 11 of these operations were carried out by the Russian armed Wagner Group.

Ukraine and Russia have been exchanging accusations since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 of mistreating prisoners, which constitute war crimes.

The Wagner Group is on the front lines of the battle for control of the city of Bakhmut, the epicenter of the battles in eastern Ukraine.

In early March, a video appeared to show Russian soldiers executing a Ukrainian prisoner of war saying “Glory to Ukraine”, which shocked Ukraine.

In November, the Kremlin denounced two videos that appeared to show the execution of about a dozen Russian soldiers after they surrendered to Ukrainian forces.

A report by the United Nations mission published Friday said that Ukrainian soldiers had threatened prisoners of war with death, mock executions or threats of sexual violence, and that some of the beatings were purely retaliatory.

The soldiers, in some cases, beat prisoners of war while repeating: “This’s for Bucha,” referring to a town near Kiev in which Russian forces were accused of committing massacres.

The report quoted a Russian prisoner of war as saying, “Before my interrogation, they showed me the handle of an ax stained with blood as a warning”.

The Russian prisoner said, “The interrogation lasted about an hour and they used electric shocks six times, whenever they thought I was lying”.

Ukrainian prisoners of war were reported to have been tortured and deprived of food, water and medical care, which sometimes led to deaths.

They added, according to the UN mission’s report, that they were subjected to torture and ill-treatment to extract information or as a form of punishment.

Ukrainian prisoners also reported that they were beaten with picks, stabbed, electrocuted, and suffocated, adding that some of them lost teeth, fingers, or broken ribs.

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