Ukraine Probes Allegations Russian Forces Shot Surrendering Ukrainian Soldiers

Ukrainian officials launched an investigation Sunday into allegations that Russian forces killed surrendering Ukrainian soldiers after grainy footage on social media appeared to show two uniformed men being shot at close range after emerging from a dugout.

“The video shows a group in Russian uniforms shooting at point-blank range, two unarmed servicemen in the uniform of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who were surrendering,” the prosecutor’s office said in a Telegram update Sunday.

The video first appeared Saturday on DeepState, a popular Ukrainian Telegram channel covering the war.  It shows the surrendering soldiers, one of them with his hands up, walking out at gunpoint and lying down on the ground before a group of Russian troops appears to open fire. There has been no response from Russia.

It was not immediately possible to verify the video’s authenticity or the circumstances in which it was filmed, and it was not clear when the incident took place. If the incident is confirmed, it would be a war crime, according to the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s office.

Kyiv, its Western allies, and international human rights organizations, have repeatedly accused Moscow of breaching international humanitarian law since it launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Kremlin denies these allegations.

In a statement posted to Telegram, Ukrainian human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets described the incident as “yet another glaring example of Russia’s violations of international humanitarian law.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s commissioner for human rights, Tatiana Moskalkova, and Lubinets plan on making several mutual visits to prisoners of war, Russia’s RIA news agency reported Sunday.

“Russian military personnel will be visited on the Ukrainian side. Ukrainian military personnel will be visited on the Russian side. There will be several of these visits; we have a schedule,” RIA cited Moskalkova as saying.

In a post on the social platform X, previously known as Twitter, Lubinets said, “119 Ukrainian defenders who are currently held in captivity in Russia received a visit. This was made possible through mutual arrangements between the Offices of the Commissioners of Ukraine and of the Russian Federation.”

Battlefield reports

Russian forces say they hit Ukraine’s air defense headquarters and alert center in the city of Dnipro in eastern Ukraine, the Russian defense ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said that it inflicted combined strikes using operational-tactical and army aviation, unmanned aerial vehicles, missile forces and artillery.

Earlier Sunday, Ukraine said its air defense systems destroyed 10 out of 12 Russian drones before reaching their targets in Ukraine. In its daily dispatch, Russia said it launched 12 drones and a cruise missile at Ukraine overnight and that it hit fuel depots in the areas of Myrhorod, Poltava region and the city of Khmelnytskyi, an ammunition arsenal in the Mykolaiv region. It also said it hit manpower and equipment in 107 various districts.

The Reuters news agency was not immediately able to corroborate the battlefield reports.

An elderly man was killed during Russian shelling of Ukraine’s southern region of Kherson Sunday, regional officials said.

“The occupants attacked the (Sadove) village. One of the hits was to a private garage, where a 78-year-old man was at the time. He died on the spot from the explosive injury,” the Kherson military administration said on the Telegram messaging app.

Reuters could not independently confirm the report.

Since Russian troops have retreated from Kherson and the western bank of the Dnipro River late last year, they regularly shell those areas from their positions on the eastern bank of the river.

Ukrainian military spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun told national television that Russian attacks on Avdiivka had halved over the past 24 hours, largely because of Russian heavy losses.

“The coking plant is controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces,” Shtupun said. “Enemy forces are trying to make their way inside but are suffering losses in infantry and equipment.”

Fighting was still intense, he said, in an area outside the town center known as the “industrial zone.” Russia’s popular war blog Rybar said the zone had fallen under Russian control.

Reuters could not verify accounts from either side.

Vitaliy Barabash, head of the town’s military administration, told Channel 24 television that Avdiivka was “starting to look like Maryinka, a settlement that basically no longer exists. It has been razed to its foundations,” he said.

Once a city of 10,000, Mariinka, southwest of the Russian-held regional center of Donetsk, is now a ghost town, after almost a year of Russian efforts to seize it. No civilians are left there

Earlier Saturday, power was restored at Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after it was lost Friday, according to a statement by Ukraine’s Energy Ministry on Telegram.

“This is the eighth blackout which occurred at the [Zaporizhzhia plant] and could have led to nuclear catastrophe,” the statement said. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the outage and restoration of power.

The plant was occupied by Russia in March of last year and is no longer generating power but needs a supply of electricity to cool one of its four reactors, which is in a state of hot conservation, meaning it has not fully been shut down.

The ministry said that after losing grid connection, the plant turned on 20 backup generators to supply its electricity needs.

Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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